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Covid: Staffordshire and Dudley set to move to tier 2

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image captionHouseholds in Newcastle-under-Lyme and elsewhere in Staffordshire would not be able to mix indoors

Staffordshire will move to tier two restrictions in a bid to stem the rise of Covid infections, the council says.

Up to Saturday, the seven-day infection rate was 239 per 100,000, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Dudley is also to enter tier two measures - or the high tier - by the end of the week.

Council leader Patrick Harley said to expect the tier to come into force in the early hours on Thursday.

In Staffordshire, new measures could be in place this weekend but a date is still to be confirmed, the county council stated.

The government is to make a formal decision on Wednesday.

Tier two (high) restrictions came into force in Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday.

The county council had lobbied the government to remain in tier one last week, but the soaring infection rate across all areas appeared to have prompted a rethink, LDRS said.

  • Latest news from the West Midlands

Latest Public Health England figures show there have been 10,768 cases since the start of the pandemic in the county.

Analysis - Elizabeth Glinka, political editor, BBC Midlands

With some of the highest infection rates in the West Midlands, the surprise is not so much that Staffordshire is entering tier two, more that it had not done so already.

Much like Dudley, which is also expected to enter tier two this week, local politicians had been hoping to remain in tier one, but the reality of rates in excess of 200 cases per 100,000 across the piece meant that was not going to be possible.

Tiers, however, are not simply decided by infection rates and the pressure on the Royal Stoke University Hospital will have influenced decision making.

The trust, which is a trauma centre, serves a large community not just in Staffordshire, but across the wider region.

South Staffordshire had the highest rate in the county as of Saturday, with 349 per 100,000, while Cannock Chase and Newcastle borough had the second and third highest - 290 and 263 respectively.

County council leader Alan White said: "This year, Staffordshire has showed what it does best... but now we need to redouble our efforts to avoid any further restrictions and protect our county."

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