Tier 3 lockdown: ‘Inevitable’ that Birmingham will move to highest level of restrictions, says council leader

‘I'm talking to the other Met Leaders, MPs and public health officials on a daily basis as we put our asks together for moving into Tier 3,’ says Ian Ward

Samuel Lovett
Thursday 29 October 2020 12:33
Communities Secretary: Still no plan for national lockdown

It is “inevitable” that Birmingham will move into Tier 3 restrictions, a local council leader has said, as infections and hospitalisations continue to rise across the West Midlands region.

This comes after a meeting was held between West Midlands mayor Andy Street, council leaders and health secretary Matt Hancock on Wednesday to discuss the conurbation’s situation.

Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said local leaders and health officials were in the process of putting their “asks together” for moving into Tier 3, but did not provide any timeframe for when the new measures will likely come into place.

“Given the rising case rate and other factors, a move to Tier 3 would seem to be inevitable at some stage and I'm talking to the other Met Leaders, MPs and public health officials on a daily basis as we put our asks together for moving into Tier 3,” he said in a statement.

“That's because we want the government to work with us to protect lives, jobs and the economy. We don't want imposition without negotiation."

He insisted that the region was not going into Tier 3 imminently. "That's not currently the case," he added.

As of Tuesday 27 October, a total of 291 people were undergoing treatment for Covid-19 in Birmingham hospitals. The majority of them (242) are newly infected and deemed ‘active’ cases.

Forty-four deaths were meanwhile recorded across the West Midlands region on Wednesday — the highest such figure for five months.

Mr Ward added: “This week I have had two meetings with local met leaders (other councils in the West Midlands Combined Authority area) and with the chambers of commerce in order to get their view on the economic package and impact.

“The government are firm on what is on offer (financially) — it will be on a par with the support offered to Greater Manchester and Liverpool region and elsewhere.”

Weekly infection rates have been soaring across parts of the West Midlands throughout October.

The latest NHS data shows Staffordshire's Covid-19 case rate was 271 per 100,000 people in the week to 26 October.

Walsall has a rate of more than 310 cases per 100,000, which is higher than the Wirral, while Cannock Chase has a rate of 301. Dudley was 248 per 100,000 for the same time period.

Following Wednesday’s ‘Gold Command’ meeting, local authority sources said it was "pretty unlikely" infection rates would come down enough in the next few days, and that Tier 3 would be imposed "by the end of next week or the start of the following week", the Press Association reported.

Hospitals in the West Midlands have started postponing routine procedures and appointments to cope with rising admissions of Covid-19 patients.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, England's largest, had a 27 per cent increase in the numbers of patients with the disease it was treating in the five days to 28 October, because of what it called "sustained and growing pressures".

Under the Tier 3 restrictions, pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant.

People will also be banned from meeting outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or private outdoor setting, whether at home or in a hospitality space. The 'rule of six' applies in open public spaces such as parks and beaches.

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