BBC News Stoke & Staffordshire

Top Stories

Coronavirus explained


Latest Updates

  1. Covid-19 rates continue to fall

    The latest figures from Public Health England show the number of new Covid-19 cases is continuing to fall right across the West Midlands.

    Nationwide, researchers said infections fell by almost a third during the second national lockdown.

    Stoke-on-Trent continues to have the highest infection rate in the region, but saw it fall to 353.4 per 100,000 people for the week up to 26 November, from 482.9 a week earlier.

    Dudley and Sandwell also have rates in excess of 300 per 100,000 people.

    All of the West Midlands, except for Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire will enter tier three when lockdown ends on Wednesday.

  2. All parts of West Midlands see Covid-19 rates fall

    Coronavirus infections fell by almost a third in England during the second national lockdown, research suggests.

    The latest weekly figures from Public Health England show all 30 local authority areas in the West Midlands again recorded a fall in new cases.

    The biggest week-on-week drop was in Lichfield, where the rate fell from 370.4 to 194.7 per 100,000 people for the week up to 25 November.

    Stoke-on-Trent and Dudley remain the highest in the region, and among the highest in England, although Dudley saw its rate fall from 506.5 to 338.9.

    Both areas are set to enter tier three when lockdown ends on 2 December.

  3. Two arrested after armed police sent to caravan park

    BBC Radio Stoke

    Two people have been arrested after armed police were sent to a caravan park in Stoke-on-Trent.

    Officers were responding to reports of disorder at Boathorse Lane in Goldenhill on Saturday night.

    A man and woman from the city have since been released on bail, said Staffordshire Police.

  4. Hospital's critical care unit under 'significant pressure'

    The trust that runs Royal Stoke University Hospital says it is seeing "significant pressure" in its critical care department.

    Last week, the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust moved its internal incident level to level 4 for Critical Care - the highest available.

    Royal Stoke University Hospital

    It said it has been receiving support from neighbouring trusts with additional critical care capacity and it was seeing a steady fall in the number of patients requiring a critical care bed.

    Image caption: Snapshot of beds across the whole trust occupied by coronavirus patients

    Chief Executive Tracy Bullock said the trust had taken action as part of its surge plans "to prioritise urgent and emergency care and ensure our sickest patients receive timely treatment".

    Stoke-on-Trent remains has the highest rate of new Covid-19 cases in the West Midlands, and one of the highest in England.

    However, the rate of infections in the city have fallen for at least two consecutive weeks and it said that was having a positive impact on reducing the number of people in hospital.

  5. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: A461 Staffordshire both ways

    BBC News Travel

    A461 Staffordshire both ways severe disruption, between A5190 Lichfield Road and A5.

    A461 Staffordshire - A461 Walsall Road in Lichfield closed in both directions between the A5190 Lichfield Road junction and Muckley Corner Island, because of a fire.

    To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

  6. Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

    Sara Blizzard

    BBC Weather

    It will be an overcast day with some patchy rain or drizzle and highs of 10°C (50°F).

    Video content

    Video caption: Latest weather for the West Midlands
  7. Hospital running out of critical care beds

    BBC Radio Stoke

    The Royal Stoke University Hospital says it has reached a point where it has very little capacity in its critical care unit and at times it has had none at all.

    It means some seriously ill patients have had to be transferred to other hospitals.

    Royal Stoke University Hospital

    The chief executive of the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Tracy Bullock, said the positive news was that case numbers "do seem to be coming down".

    She added: "We hope that that in the not too distant future will translate into lower numbers in our critical care unit as well."

  8. Weather warning for fog issued

    Fog patches across the West Midlands could cause some travel disruption, the Met Office is warning.

    Met Office weather warning map

    It has issued a yellow weather warning which is in place until 12:00.

  9. Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

    Sara Thornton

    BBC Weather

    It will be a mostly dry but cold day with some patchy fog yet also bright spells and highs of 4°C (39°F).

    Video content

    Video caption: Latest weather for the West Midlands
  10. Covid-19 rates continue to fall

    Coronavirus rates continue to fall across the West Midlands, the latest figures from Public Health England show.

    All 30 local authority areas in the region reported a drop in cases for the week up to and including 22 November..

    Stoke-on-Trent, Dudley, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Sandwell recorded the highest figures, with infection rates still in excess of 400 cases per 100,000 people.


    In Stoke-on-Trent, the rate fell to 419.3 per 100,000 people in the week up to 22 November from 552.3 a week earlier.

    Six weeks earlier than that however it stood at just 53.8.

    Stratford-upon-Avon, which as part of Warwickshire was earlier put into tier three, and Malvern Hills had the lowest rates in the West Midlands.

  11. Covid-19: Hopes for football fans dashed by tier news

    Allen Cook

    BBC News

    The co-owner of Port Vale FC said the club was "disappointed" at not being able to have fans back in once lockdown ends next week.

    Vale Park

    Earlier this week, the government said fans would be allowed at outdoor events in limited numbers but only in tiers one and two.

    With Stoke-on-Trent set to be in tier three, the Vale won't be able to host any supporters.

    Co-owner Carol Shanahan said the news was not unexpected and they were "cautiously optimistic" the city could be moved into a lower tier later next month.

    She added: "Your club is ready. A huge amount of work has taken place and is taking place to plan for the return of fans to Vale Park.

    “We look forward to welcome supporters back home as soon as we are allowed."

  12. Bingo hall just wants virus 'over as soon as we can'

    BBC Radio Stoke

    The manager of a bingo hall said she just wanted Covid-19 "to be over as soon as we can".

    Stoke-on-Trent will be in tier three after lockdown under government plans meaning the Mecca Bingo in the city will stay shut.

    Mecca Bingo in Stoke-on-Trent

    Manager Tony Beverley said it was not just the staff to consider, but also customers, many of whom only go out to play bingo.

    "We just want this thing to be over as soon as we can so that we can get back to normal," he told BBC Radio Stoke.

    "It is quite a difficult time, some people cope differently but we do absolutely everything we can to make sure people are safe."

  13. Recap: West Midlands facing new coronavirus restrictions

    In case you're just joining us, here's a round-up of the news on post-lockdown tiers.

    Five areas of the West Midlands will move in to tier two restrictions once lockdown ends - Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Cheshire.

    All the others will be placed under tougher tier three restrictions.

    There will be no parts of the West Midlands returning to tier one, although all this will be reviewed after a fortnight and some areas could be downgraded.

    Tier two

    The government has explained the reasoning behind each of the decisions and generally speaking the areas with the higher infection rates and greatest pressure on the local NHS are in tier three.

    A number of areas are in a different tier to the one they were in when lockdown started, with Warwickshire showing the biggest shift - up from tier one to tier three.

    Tier three