As latest figures show nearly 2,600 people in Wolverhampton tested positive for Covid-19 last week, health and police chiefs are calling on residents to stay home during the national lockdown – and to take extreme care if they must go out.

Latest figures show there were 980 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 4 January. That means 2,577 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

England was placed into national lockdown by the Government on Monday night. People can only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, including shopping for basic necessities like food or medicine, for medical reasons (for example, to get a Covid-19 test or the Covid-19 vaccine), or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, for exercise or to go to work, if they cannot work from home. 

Primary and secondary schools, and colleges, are closed to all children except for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, and non-essential retail is closed. 

Extremely clinically vulnerable people should shield again; they should stay at home as much as possible and only leave for exercise and health appointments. They should not go to work, even if they cannot work from home.

For further information, and the answers to frequently asked questions, please visit Covid Alert.  

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "The rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in the last couple of weeks is a huge concern. More and more people are contracting this deadly virus which is putting enormous pressure on our NHS, so it is even more vital that we all do what we can to stop the spread and protect our most vulnerable residents.

"The lockdown announced on Monday makes it imperative that we all stay home, unless absolutely necessary. This will enable us to all dramatically reduce contact with others, which we know is the best way to stop the virus spreading. 

"The new restrictions has been introduced for good reason, so please make sure you and your family follow the rules and that you stay home over the next few weeks."

Superintendent Simon Inglis of Wolverhampton Neighbourhood Policing Unit said: “We will continue to ensure the community are complying with the restrictions that have been set out by the Government. 

“People are required to stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse to be out and it is vital that the public follow these rules if we are going to have any chance of getting this virus under control. 

“Throughout this pandemic we have always followed a 4 step approach: to engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce – and will continue to do so moving forward, with a strong emphasis on the first 3 steps. 

“However, where we can see clear breaches of the restrictions we will not hesitate in stepping up and carrying out enforcement by issuing fines to those responsible. Please ensure that we don’t have to do that by ensuring you stick to the rules and help Wolverhampton get back to being the great city it is.”

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, which include a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, must immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.