As Wolverhampton marks the second anniversary of the first coronavirus case in the city, residents are being reminded that the fight against Covid-19 is not over.

And they are also being encouraged to take a moment to reflect on and remember the efforts of all those who have played a part, large or small, in the city’s response to the pandemic over the last 2 years.

While all legal restrictions have now been lifted in England, latest figures show the infection rate is starting to creep up again, with over 600 people testing positive for Covid-19 in Wolverhampton in the last week. 

Tim Johnson, the Chief Executive of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "We recognise that the past 2 years have been incredibly challenging for everyone in Wolverhampton. Many of us have lost loved ones, work colleagues and friends with Covid-19 during the pandemic, and many more are suffering the after effects in the form of long-Covid. 

“So it’s really important that we acknowledge the second anniversary this week of the first case of coronavirus being confirmed in our city.

“At the time, none of us could have foreseen the impact the virus would have on our city and our nation in the months and years ahead, or the sacrifices we would all have to make as a result of the lockdowns.

"This anniversary is also an opportunity to thank everybody across Wolverhampton for everything they have done, and continue to do, to support residents affected by Covid-19.

“Whether you have been working on the frontline throughout the emergency, you have been diligently following the measures put in place to stop the spread, or you have simply been looking out for one another, you have played a crucial part in the fight against Covid-19.

“I would ask you to pause for a moment and reflect on what has been a remarkable response to what have been remarkable circumstances. Your efforts have helped our city get through the last 2 years, to a position where case rates in Wolverhampton are currently among the lowest in the whole country.

"We now know that we have to live with Covid, and in doing so we cannot afford to let our guard down. Infection rates are rising again following the lifting of all legal Covid-19 restrictions, so it's crucial that we all remain vigilant in the weeks and months ahead.”

Professor David Loughton CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “Two years ago our lives as we knew it changed forever. We entered unknown territory, and were shocked and devastated by how this virus took control. We have seen death at a enormous scale and it has impacted on all of our lives. Whether that be personally or professionally, this will stay with us forever. 

“Staff, teams and services have continued to deliver high quality patient care in these difficult circumstances by coming together, supporting one another and doing things differently. Although this is not over, and we continue to deal with the impact of Covid-19 on a daily basis, we move forward by adapting to a new normal, putting our patients at the heart of all that we do.”

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, added: "We know that the lifting of all legal restrictions last month will have been welcomed by many, but we must remember that the pandemic is far from over, and everybody still has a duty to do all they can to ensure we are able to live safely alongside the virus. 

“The key is to take up the offer of vaccination as soon as you are able to – please remember that it's never too late to get vaccinated, whether you are due your first or second dose, or a booster – and also please consider the vulnerability of others by continuing to wear face coverings in crowded areas like shops and on public transport if you possibly can."

"Testing remains crucial. You must still get a PCR test if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 and, if you don’t have symptoms, we ask that you continue to get a regular rapid test to make sure you do not have the virus.

“If we do all this, we will give ourselves a much greater chance of being able to live safely with Covid-19, no matter how long the virus might stay with us.”

For details of local walk-in vaccination clinics, offering first, second and booster jabs, please visit Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site. People can also book an appointment via Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination or by calling 119.

There were 244.3 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last 7 days. That means 642.5 people tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of cases will likely be higher.