Express & Star comment: Covid exit strategy must be outlined

For the first time in months, Covid cases are falling across every part of the region.

A woman walks past a Christmas tree during lockdown.
A woman walks past a Christmas tree during lockdown.

And in many places the decrease in infection rates are huge – up to 20 per cent over the course of a few days.

Although a growing number of people with coronavirus are being admitted to the region's hospitals, admissions are still far below the peak in the first wave.

The same pattern is reflected in the data from all over England, leaving Ministers with an interesting conundrum when it comes to determining the new alert levels that will apply once the current national lockdown ends.

In the West Midlands, strict Tier 3 measures seemed inevitable a few days ago.

Now they are considered probable for some areas but highly unlikely for others.

One thing is for sure, a one-size-fits-all tier for the region is far from suitable, which is why reported moves to allocate restrictions by local authority must be welcomed.

There is growing evidence that the second wave of the virus may already have peaked, although this will only become clear after a sustained drop in case numbers over a period of weeks.

There is also evidence that a combination of the national lockdown and the tiered system before it may have been an effective way of reducing the spread of the virus.

In our region, it is noticeable that Dudley – which was spared stricter restrictions for a longer period of time than the rest of the Black Country – now has the highest rate of infection.

Regardless of where we stand after the Prime Minister's announcement tomorrow, it is crucial that an exit strategy is outlined.

People need to know that areas can come out of harsher restrictions should case numbers fall sufficiently.

The public is far more likely to stick to whatever measures are imposed if light can be seen at the end of the tunnel.

Meanwhile the advice remains the same: follow the guidance and stick to the rules, whatever they may be.

In the fight against Covid, there is still a long way to go.

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