Covid infection rates are going in the wrong direction - so we need Government to step up NOW so we can avoid a Leicester-style lockdown
We can't have a testing letdown that triggers city lockdown.
I've spent the last few days talking to ministers, city leaders and MPs - and colleagues in Leicester to learn the lessons from their experience.
Higher infection rates mean we're entitled to enhanced support. But 'enhanced support' has got to mean the world class testing regime we were promised months ago - plus a few things extra.
Ultimately the way we avoid self-isolating an entire city is to help those actually with covid self isolate themselves. Only by knowing who has the antibodies can we ensure that this lockdown is as long as necessary but as short as possible.
In addition we need the following now:
- extend the furlough scheme and self employment scheme to protect livelihoods. This must apply to the whole of the West Midlands combined authority area as many people who live in Birmingham work in the neighbouring Boroughs and Cities and vice versa.
- extend the ban on evictions. No one should be made homeless during a lockdown. Again, this ought to apply to the whole West Midlands combined authority area.
- The Government must be clear that it will meet 100% of all the costs of having a second lockdown. This must include cash support for Birmingham City Council as well as public service providers
- Extra support for school leaders. Schools need to go back. But our school leaders have been through hell these last few months - and days. They need extra support now to keep their staff, children and parents safe
Everyone has a responsibility to help beat Covid19 by washing their hands, wearing a mask and observing social distancing. We'll get through this by putting together – but we need Government to be on the team