HOUSEHOLDS in Sandwell will be banned from mixing as part of new coronavirus lockdown restrictions announced today.

Residents in the borough, along with Birmingham and Solihull, will not be permitted to meet with people from outside their household from Tuesday, September 15.

It comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the Second City and neighbouring Sandwell and Solihull have surged in recent weeks.

From September 15 people in Sandwell must not allow others from outside their households into their home or their garden.

Also, people in Sandwell must not go to visit other households in their homes or gardens – inside or outside of Sandwell.

The measures were announced by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street at a briefing this afternoon.

Mr Street said he had been permitted to read out a statement headed “Ban on household mixing in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull”, with the agreement of the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock – who had been due to make the announcement.

The mayor said: “The following areas will now be escalated to an area of national intervention, with a ban on people socialising with people outside their own household.

“The ban will take effect from Tuesday 15th September, but residents are advised to avoid household mixing before then as it has been identified as one of the drivers of transmission.”

He added that the bans applied to the whole of Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull.

The restrictions come as 140 positive cases were recorded in Sandwell between 2-8 September, compared with 72 cases in the previous seven days.

Sandwell’s Director of Public Health Lisa McNally said: “We need people to take these new restrictions extremely seriously to protect each other and keep everyone safe.

“Covid-19 can kill and we need to do everything we can in Sandwell to try to limit the spread of the virus – and evidence shows close contact within people’s households is a major cause of transmission.”

Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Maria Crompton said: “We know this is going to be difficult for people, but we need to take urgent action now to reduce the infection rate in Sandwell – we need people to take this very seriously.

“Everyone in Sandwell has their part to play. We need people to follow the rules to keep themselves and others safe, to avoid becoming infected and passing on the virus to others.

“Covid-19 has not gone away and it kills people.

“We do of course welcome any extra support from government to help reduce the spread of infection.”

Schools continue to be open to pupils and shops and restaurants, bars and other hospitality venues, where there are strict social distancing and hygiene rules in place, remain open.

The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police appealed for people to adhere to tighter coronavirus restrictions imposed in a bid to again stifle the spread of the disease.

Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: “We were just getting used to society opening up more, seeing friends, family, loved ones and getting together – but it’s important we all take responsibility to tackle the spread of CoVID-19.

“By all acting responsibly we can reduce the risk of harm to our loved ones and keep our communities safer.”