Region urged to follow rules despite ‘parties’ hypocrisy

Health chiefs in the region have urged people not to focus on the Government’s ‘parties’ scandal and instead concentrate on keeping each other safe from the virus.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Sandwell’s cabinet member for adults, social care and health said it was difficult to expect people to follow the rules in the face of revelations about Downing Street gatherings during earlier lockdowns.

However, Councillor Hartwell called on residents to not lose sight of the real threat posed by Covid.

She said: “It is totally understandable that people may be annoyed and confused by the recent announcements from central government and think that if they can not follow their own guidelines why should I?

"Personally, and where appropriate and possible, I will be wearing a mask, working from home and encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, not because the Prime Minister says so but to keep myself, my family and friends and the wider Sandwell community as safe as possible from the serious effects of Covid illness.”

A further 10 coronavirus deaths have been confirmed in the region’s hospitals, official NHS figures show. It means the total number of hospital deaths in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Birmingham have risen to 8,646. The UK recorded a further 148 deaths on Thursday.

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