What does the announcement on Friday, the 18th of September 20 mean?

The new restrictions mean: 

  • you must not allow people you don't live with or who are not part of your bubble into your home or garden
  • you must not visit people you do not live with or who are not part of your bubble, in Wolverhampton or elsewhere
  • only essential visits inside the home, such as by carers or for urgent repairs, will be allowed
  • These restrictions will be law and people could be fined for breaking them. 
  • The measures will not affect schools, public transport or workplaces, though people should still practice social distancing and wear a face covering where required. For more details of the new measures, please visit Local restrictions in Wolverhampton
  • Wolverhampton has become an area of national intervention – along with neighbouring Sandwell, Birmingham and Solihull where similar restrictions came into force on Tuesday – due to a sustained raise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
  • Latest data shows that confirmed cases have risen fivefold in a fortnight. There were around 60 cases per 100,000 residents in the 7 days to 12 September compared to 12.6 cases per 100,000 in the week to 29 August. Some 90% of cases are linked to household to household transmission.

As well as avoiding household to household contact, people are reminded they should continue to:

  • wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds
  • wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult or where they encounter people they do not normally meet
  • stay 2m apart from people they do not live with, or 1m-plus with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) where 2m is not possible
  • get a test if they have symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, by visiting Coronavirus (COVID-19) or calling 119 and share their contact details for Test and Trace purposes

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and the council’s coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS

What does the announcement on Wednesday, the 9th of September 2020 mean?

The Prime Minister announced a new rule of six for social gatherings, helping us to control and suppress the spread of coronavirus.

The Government has published updated guidance which states that “With cases increasing in the UK, we all – businesses, individuals, and government – need to take action to suppress the virus” adding that is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:

  • HANDS – Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
  • FACE – Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.

We are simplifying and strengthening the rules – making them easier for people to understand and for the police to enforce:

  • From Monday, in England, it will be illegal to meet in groups of more than six people. This will apply in any setting – indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub. The ban will be set out in law and enforced by the police – anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested. This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing 2 households to meet indoors. Now people only need to remember the rule of six.
  • Introducing only limited exemptions to the rule of six. If a single household or support bubble is larger than six, they can still gather. Likewise, Covid Secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues can still hold more than six people in total – however, within the venues there must not be individual groups larger than six. Education and work places are unaffected.
  • Enforcing the rules more strongly. Premises where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party for NHS Test and Trace, and retain them for 21 days. Fines will be levied against hospitality venues failing to ensure their premises are Covid Secure. And Border Force will step up enforcement efforts at the border to ensure people are complying with the quarantine rule.
  • Introducing Covid Secure Marshalls. The Marshalls will help ensure social distancing in towns and cities centres, and we will support local authorities to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health.
  • Revising existing plans to reopen some activities. We must now revise plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month and review our intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from 1 October.
  • Ensuring schools and colleges are the very last places to shut in the event of a local lockdown. As the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser have said, the long term risks to children’s life chances of not going to school are significant and far greater than the health risks of going back to school. We have today also published new guidance for universities on how they can operate in a Covid Secure way.

While a vaccine is developed, we are working on an alternative plan which could allow life to return closer to normality – based on mass testing: 

  • Increasing testing capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. We have already increased capacity from 2,000 tests a day in March to around 300,000 test a day currently.
  • Planning to use testing to identify people who are negative. In the near future, mass testing will allow us to identify people who do not have coronavirus, allowing them to lead more normal lives in the knowledge they cannot infect anyone else.
  • Introducing faster coronavirus tests. We believe new types of tests, which are capable of giving results in as little as 20 minutes, will become available. We hope to deploy these on a far bigger scale than any country has yet achieved – literally millions of tests processed every day.
  • Providing £500 million to speed up coronavirus testing and assess the benefits of repeat population testing, helping to get us back to a more normal way of life. We will fund a new, community-wide trial in Salford, launching immediately, to assess the benefits of repeat population testing.

All this progress is contingent on continued scientific advances and though we’re hopeful, we cannot 100 per cent guarantee that those advances will be made. That is why it is so important that we take these tough measures now.

So let’s work together and follow the rules: meet in groups of no more than six. Wash your hands, cover your face, and make space.