Birmingham is likely only a week away from a potential targeted lock-down as Coronavirus infection rates continue to rise in some parts of the city, with the Government adding the region to its “watch-list”.
There have been mounting concerns in recent weeks as the infection rate of Coronavirus crept upwards and upwards across the regions of Birmingham, with the most significantly impacted area within the West Midlands being Sandwell, which has already introduced local “lock-down-like” restrictions.
The city now faces the stark reality that if the infection rate is not arrested, the potential for a crippling full-scale lock-down could result, possibly within 10 days.
What will be most concerning for city leaders, from the Council to the Mayor, is that they are quite literally just passengers on this one now. There is very little they can do to change the course of the virus’ spread in the city, other than close their eyes and cross their fingers.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “As we have previously said, this announcement was expected following rising Coronavirus case numbers here in Birmingham. We are working with our partners locally and at a government level to shape plans and secure the resources such as extra testing that we need that will get the infection rate down.
“We will make announcements as soon as possible about what this means for the people of the city. If our previous warnings to keep doing the basics haven’t been enough, this has to be the wake-up call for everyone. Wash your hands, wear face coverings wherever possible, keep 2m apart from others and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.”
The City’s council will now be under immense pressure not only to attempt to drive down the infection rate, but to also draw up it’s strategy for the city in the event it is unsuccessful in the former.
A second lock-down for Birmingham will deliver a fatal blow for businesses who struggled to make it through the first, and that have just begun to re-establish themselves in the marketplace.
The economic ramifications for the region as a whole would be devastating, and almost certainly result in widespread job losses on a bigger scale than currently being seen, pushing the West Midlands into a deeper recession than that being experienced elsewhere in the UK.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands added; “Birmingham is in an extremely challenging COVID situation, and as expected the city has been added to the Government’s watch-list this afternoon. From hand-washing and social distancing to wearing face coverings and avoiding mass gatherings, every individual must play their part.”
So Birmingham, and the wider West Midlands conurbation is in a race against time before a stiffer lock-down is enforced upon it. The problem is, there is very little that those who are listening to the instructions can do to stop those to chose to ignore them.