LOCKDOWN has arrived in Sandwell today (Tuesday) as coronavirus cases rise in the borough.

Local lockdown restrictions have come into force across Sandwell - including Cradley Heath, Old Hill, Rowley Regis and Oldbury, as well as across Birmingham and Solihull in a bid to stop the rise of infections.

Those living in the affected areas cannot have visitors inside their homes or gardens as the new rules are implemented from today (Tuesday, September 15).

They are not allowed to mix with any other households in their homes or gardens - inside or outside Sandwell borough.

Only essential visits inside homes, such as by carers, are allowed.

Halesowen News:

The new restrictions do not affect schools, transport or workplaces.

Under the latest national guidelines people who flout the restrictions face fines of up to £3,200.

Police will be able to disperse gatherings of more than six people and issue fines from £100 to £3,200.

The restrictions will be reviewed every week but could remain for at least two or three weeks as the rate of Covid-19 cases continues to rise.

Schools are businesses will stay open, and people can still visit shops and restaurants, where there are strict social distancing and hygiene rules in place.

Groups of six can meet in pubs and restaurants because analysis suggests the spike in cases is being driven by gatherings inside homes.

The Covid-19 infection rate in Sandwell is currently 42.8 per 100,000 (latest data available – 2-8 September) compared with 22 per 100,000 in the previous seven days.

There were 140 positive cases in Sandwell between 2-8 September, compared with 72 cases in the previous seven days (26 August – 1 September).

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."

Sandwell Council has issued the following advice to residents:

Make sure you keep your distance from others, wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering in shops, on public transport and in other enclosed spaces.

If someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms, or has tested positive, they need to isolate for at least 10 days.

Everyone in the household also needs to self-isolate for 14 days.

Any person who has symptoms or tests positive must maintain their distance from others in the household. If you have symptoms, however mild, get tested immediately by visiting the NHS website or call 119.

All businesses have a responsibility to ensure COVID-19 safety measures are followed such as social distancing and face coverings where appropriate.

Customers are advised only to use businesses that are following the rules.

If a business isn’t following the guidance, don’t go there. The council will close businesses where rules are not followed.

Any concerns can be reported at the Healthy Sandwell website.