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Dirty tricks or errors? -The story behind the announcement of the Chambolic Birmingham Local Lockdown



Allegations today re-emerged that Ministry of Health officials wanted to push for a ban on Blummy’s family and friend meetings in the “social environment” -including pubs and cafes-as part of local blockade restrictions. ..

The move was eventually rejected-but not before the announcement of the local lockdown was in turmoil. Secretary of Health Matt Hancock Say one and the local leader says another.

Sources today said the fallout persisted and the incident caused a “trust problem.”

More than 1.5 million people in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell will invite visitors to their homes and gardens or visit other homes to “flatten the curve” in the face of growing infectious diseases from tomorrow. You are prohibited from doing so.

But during Friday’s confusing five hours, the ban was extended to pubs, cafes, households meeting in restaurants, or actually “social.”

And it would have been devastating, disproportionate, and damaging to the cohesiveness of the community and the fragile department of hospitality, local leaders say.

The idea that health ministry officials could impose rules on the region, whatever their views, was also allowed to bring political unrest to the fore.

“This is enough for an equal partnership,” one angry councilor told me.

Other sources said there remains recognition that as the government struggled with difficult testing and tracking systems, it became a “dirty trick” to impose faster and more stringent measures in the region.

Timeline of confusion

Thursday, September 10

Secretary of Health Matt Hancock oversees the weekly Gold Command Meeting to survey coronavirus hotspots across the country and decide which ones will be featured. National monitoring list Needs additional support.

Birmingham and Sandwell are already listed as areas that require enhanced support, but due to increased coronavirus infections in both areas and adjacent solihulls, they can act as areas that require intervention. Agreement confirmed-red alert category.

The rally also confirmed that the biggest concern was non-compliance with households and yard households and social distance, hand hygiene, masking and other means.

A cluster of cases of large families and friendship groups mingling at home has been identified.

Prohibiting home mixing at home was agreed as the best practice. Other measures at this stage are disproportionate to the local public health director.

Friday, September 11

Andy Street hosts a media briefing every Friday afternoon throughout the pandemic, bringing together health, local and corporate experts to stay up-to-date and ask questions about the status of Covid in the area. ..

This boosted the tone-when the start time was approaching, there were still no signs that an expected press release from the Ministry of Health would announce a watch list and local blockade measures.

we After talking to local sources, I previewed a likely announcement, And expected a ban on mixed households.

2 pm

Mr Street held a press briefing, spoke with Hancock, and said he was empowered to read his statement about the West Midlands.

He writes: “It comes to mind: banning home mixing in Birmingham, Solihull, and Sandwell.”

He goes on to say:

“These areas are now escalated to areas of state intervention, banning socializing with people outside their own families.”

This wording clearly attracts people. It’s harsh-it’s a pretty question to ban people from seeing people outside their home.

But Quan Yan Ward, the leader of the city council, who has participated in talks with the government, seems to reassure us. In this way he interprets mimissive: you can get off the pub but you can’t see your family.

The reason for the ban at home has also been clarified. At home, it is difficult to maintain distance and perform risk assessments, but pubs and restaurants have strict and enforceable rules.

We report that this measure is supported by evidence that a large number of cases within large families and other social groups are mixed at home.

3 pm

The press briefing will end. When journalists are sending messages to each other to understand what’s going on, you can be confident that the press conference isn’t going well.

Almost immediately, he understood that a local leader had asked for an explanation, and Mr Street was asked to speak to Mr Hancock.

4 pm

The counward sends an angry email. He understands that the extension ban has remained and is being done with caution.

In his email we received, it says:

“We understand that Birmingham has tightened regulations to include households that are banned from mixing in hospitality facilities, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Cllr Ian Ward gets angry at Serco’s response to a Covid outbreak at a city hotel

“This is not what we understood until 4 pm today and was not discussed at or with us at the Gold Command this week.”

He then set up all the financial support and other packages that would be needed if such a ban was introduced.

5:05 pm

The Ministry of Health press team will issue a final press release on the new restrictions.

This has not changed from the version read by Andy Street, “From Tuesday, Residents Socialize With people outside their home, unless they are in your support bubble. This does not apply to work, school, or daycare. “

6:02 pm

The counward takes him to Twitter to publicize his anger. He tweeted: “The government seems to be confused about the restrictions (if any) that apply to bars and restaurants. We are urgently seeking clarification. This is very frustrating and Birmingham clearly need to do it.


“For now, to clarify the situation, we have agreed with the government that the household restrictions that will come into force this Tuesday will not affect the hospitality sector (bars, restaurants and cafes).”

What now?

Misstepping when sending a difficult message to a tired and increasingly suspicious public is less than ideal, the test regime appears to be in a meltdown state, and the government introduces a new “law of six” at the same time. Because it is.

We also understand that limited measures for hospitality settings are already being considered to limit the risk of infectious diseases if infection rates remain high.

They include:

* Table-only service rules

* Return to take-out service in some areas

* Early night closure / curfew

Recent studies from Oxford University The great welcome of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has led to an “extreme” surge in the number of people eating out, which is consistent with rising infection rates.

That’s what Birmingham’s Cabinet Lead for Health and Social Care, Congressman Paulette Hamilton, hasn’t lost, and busy restaurants and cafes inspired by the initiative were essential to the hospitality sector, but stay safe. He said he confused people about what to do for him.

“People started to relax too, and the government took their eyes off the ball. We’re paying for it now,” she said.

For some observers and professionals, blockades of pubs and restaurants are now important.

Professor Alan McNally, World-class Microbiology and Infection Research Institute, University of Birmingham, Bars, pubs, restaurants and gyms have said they should be closed now, even a little, to thwart dramatic spikes across the city.

He described the family cluster that caused him New local measures as “the tip of the iceberg”.

There is also a perception problem. Residents affected by this measure, especially those who rely on friends and relatives to provide childcare, support and comfort, allow up to six people from six different households to gather in the pub while at the same time at home. Said it was unreasonable to stop the rally.

I submitted the scenario described here to the Ministry of Health and asked them to comment on the event on Friday, but only said that the restrictions in place in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell would be reviewed weekly.

A “formal review” of the situation will take place on September 29th.


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