Do not become complacent over half term, warn West Midlands health bosses

Health bosses are urging families to stay safe this half term and avoid a spike in Covid cases as the number of cases of Indian variant increases.

A rise in Covid cases has previously been seen after school holidays, so Dr Naveed Syed, consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health England West Midlands is appealing for families to be cautious.

It comes as the number of cases of the Indian variant has increased from 157 to 258 in one week across the West Midlands.

Dr Syed said: “Check the weather forecast before committing to inviting large numbers to your event. With our unpredictable weather I’m concerned that what starts off in the garden quickly becomes an unsafe gathering indoors if there is a heavy downpour and there’s a rush for cover.

"No more than six people, including children, or two households are allowed to go inside together as there is too much of a risk of spreading the virus. As we know, one in three have no symptoms and unknowingly pass on the virus which spreads much more easily inside.

“Our overall numbers in the West Midlands have begun to level off but are still low thanks to the number of people having their vaccinations. However, the numbers for the more transmissible VOC-APR-02, which originated in India, are on the increase. The latest published statistics revealed an increase from 157 cases to 258 cases in one week in West Midlands. This is why it is so important that everyone follows the rules.

“We have previously seen a spike in cases following school holidays when children have mixed with friends and some have passed on the virus to their families. This half term it is very important we do not become complacent. There are still restrictions in place until 21 June at the earliest."

Patrols

Meanwhile officers will be patrolling across the Black Country and Staffordshire over the Bank Holiday weekend to ensure people are sticking to the rules.

Superintendent Mark Ward, lead for community engagement at Staffordshire Police, said: “I understand most people will want to go out, enjoy the sunshine, and make the most of the latest easing of restrictions.

“But let’s not waste what we have achieved so far.

“Please be responsible, exercise caution and do what you can to keep yourself and others safe from this deadly virus.”

Superintendent Simon Inglis of Wolverhampton Police said: “We will be attending many premises over the weekend to check compliance and if breaches are identified, individuals may face fines and the premises may face enforcement or even closure – neither of which any of us want.

“Overall though I am confident that any such enforcement will be kept to a minimum and the community will follow the rules, support our hospitality sector and help Wolverhampton get back to being the great city that we all know it is.”

Health bosses at Staffordshire County Council and Wolverhampton Council also appealed for residents to follow the roadmap rules.

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