New coronavirus hotspots in England at risk of local lockdown
18 August 2020, 08:15 | Updated: 18 August 2020, 08:35
Birmingham is at risk of local restrictions are a rise in coronavirus cases.
New jumps in coronavirus cases could mean more cities and towns in England are at risk of local lockdowns.
Greater Manchester and parts of the north west are currently following strict social distancing measures after the infection rate increased.
But now four other areas - Northampton, Swindon, Birmingham and Newark and Sherwood - could be heading in the same direction.
According to Public Health England figures, Birmingham's infection rate has more than doubled in a week, with 321 people testing positive for COVID-19.
Director of public health, Dr Justin Varney told Birmingham Live it was likely the city would feature in the national ‘watch list’ of places most at risk of intervention.
Dr Varney said: "We could very easily be in a situation like we have seen in Leicester and Greater Manchester.
"Looking at the national pattern, we have now overtaken Sandwell - it would not surprise me if Birmingham joins that list."
At the start of the month, Birmingham the city had an infection rate of around 12 cases per 100,000 population.
This rose to 24 by the end of last week, and is now at 'around 30'.
Last month, Blackburn and Darwen and Lancashire were put under local lockdown when the rate reached around 50.
Northampton is also under threat of localised restrictions, after 300 workers at a sandwich factory tested positive for coronavirus last week.
Officials in Swindon were concerned last week after a spike of 50 new coronavirus cases, but this has since slightly fallen.
Leicester was the first city to go into local lockdown back in June after a huge jump in Covid-19 cases.
Currently, residents are banned from meeting people from different households in their homes and gardens, while gyms are also closed.
But now Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to ease restrictions after the infection rate dropped from 135 cases per 100,000, to 67 cases per 100,000.
Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to reopen two weeks ago.