15 Sep Coronavirus: New restrictions come into force in Birmingham as infections ‘rising fast’ in city | UK News
New restrictions banning households from meeting each other have come into force in Birmingham following a spike in coronavirus cases in the city.
The new rules – which also apply to Sandwell and Solihull in the West Midlands – come a day after social gatherings of more than six people became illegal across England.
People in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull can no longer mix with different households indoors or in private gardens, except for those in a support bubble.
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said the restrictions had been introduced to reduce the local rate of coronavirus infection “which is rising fast”.
Asif Ali, who owns a cake shop in Sparkhill, Birmingham, lost his grandmother, cousin and great uncle to COVID-19 and said he was not convinced everyone in the city will obey the new rules.
“Some people don’t care,” he told Sky News.
“Maybe because they didn’t have anyone affected in their family but I have – a few of my family got infected.
“They really have no idea.
“It’s a big thing.”
People in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull can still visit shops, pubs and restaurants and they are allowed to mix with other households in public outdoor spaces such as parks, but the “rule of six” applies to these settings.
People face fines of up to £3,200 if they do not abide by the measure.
According to NHS Digital data, the seven-day rate of coronavirus infections for Birmingham was 78.2 cases per 100,000 people up to 8 September.
For the previous seven-day period, the rate was just over 30.
Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council, said there has been “an increase of hospital admissions with COVID-19 and an increase in cases in care homes”.
“The spread appears to be primarily occurring through social interactions, especially private household gatherings, and workplaces where social distancing is not being observed,” he added.
“The city’s position now is that we have become an area of intervention in line with places such as Greater Manchester.”
Protests were reportedly held in Birmingham city centre over the weekend against the local restrictions.
About 200 people gathered for the demonstration which also opposed the track and trace system, face masks and social distancing, according to the Birmingham Mail.
Parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston, Leicester and West Yorkshire have already been banned from meeting anyone from outside their own household, or support bubble, in a home or garden.
In Bolton, restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs have been restricted to takeaway only and all hospitality venues are required close between 10pm and 5am.
There is also a ban on mixing outside households in public outdoor settings in the town.
In Caerphilly, Wales, people are not allowed to enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse.
People living in Glasgow City, East Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire are banned from meeting people from another household inside their home.
And in Belfast and Ballymena, Northern Ireland, different households are banned from meeting in each other’s houses – apart from those who have formed a support bubble and those with caring or childcare responsibilities.
Another 2,621 cases of coronavirus were reported in the UK on Monday, taking the country’s total to 371,125.
The number of deaths increased by nine, bringing the overall count to 41,637.
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