Coronavirus: Birmingham care home visits banned as cases rise

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image captionThere had been about 330 new cases in the last week, Birmingham public health director Dr Justin Varney said

Visits to care homes in Birmingham have been banned amid a further rise in coronavirus infection rates.

The city's public health director Dr Justin Varney wrote to homes last week ordering an immediate stop to all "non-essential" visits.

He said Birmingham currently had a rate of about 29 cases per 100,000 people.

Dr Varney said he feared people had "forgotten" how serious coronavirus was and warned Birmingham could face some form of local lockdown.

The pattern of infections was "pretty much" across the entire city, he said, "particularly in the east, the west and the centre".

If Birmingham went into lockdown, Dr Varney said, it was "likely to be the whole city that goes".

"It's so important that everyone... does take action, does listen to the advice... because it's up to what we do that makes the decision [whether] we go into lockdown or not," he said.

"I read... people who've had symptoms... still went to work or went to dinner in a restaurant or went to a faith setting.

"It does make me wonder that people have forgotten how serious this is."

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image captionDr Varney said if Birmingham went into lockdown, it was "likely to be the whole city that goes"

There had been about 330 new cases in the city in the last week, which was about a 60% increase on the week before, Dr Varney told BBC Midlands Today.

Dr Varney said there was more testing, but the proportion of people who test positive was increasing.

"We're seeing that reflecting both through people coming together as families, family networks... and we're also seeing an increase in cases linked to workplaces."

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