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Councils across the West Midlands have joined together to deliver a clear message to people and businesses across the region:
We must all play are part if we are to avoid any future lockdown due to Covid-19.
It comes after large parts of northern England started to adapt one again to new local lockdown rules today. It has led to leaders of different parties and top public health officials to come together to make clear that widespread testing is now more important than ever to reduce the prospect of similar action in the West Midlands.
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, has joined with his counterparts in authorities such as Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton in urging people who have Covid-19 symptoms – however mild – to book a free test.
The seven local authorities also reiterated the importance of businesses contacting Public Health England as a case is identified – either confirmed or suspected – in a staff or customer.
Councillor Duggins said: "As we've seen with Leicester and now the north of England, this pandemic is far from over and there's no room for complacency.
“Testing is absolutely essential if we're going to limit the spread of the virus across the West Midlands and save lives and every single one of us can play a part.
"Rates of testing have dropped over the last week in the West Midlands and it is essential that anyone with symptoms, however mild, rings 119 or goes on the NHS website to book a test.”
Liz Gaulton, director of Public Health at Coventry City Council, added: “We are working with the Department of Health to expand the number of testing sites across the region and increase opportunities for walk-through testing as well.
"Workplaces may become sources of outbreaks and spread in the future but if public health are contacted quickly when managers find out about the first suspected or confirmed case then the right advice can be given and we can control things quickly.
"In most cases this also means the business doesn’t need to close and things can be controlled. Staying silent means the virus spreads, putting staff and customers at risk, and where businesses haven’t stepped up and reached out for help quickly there have been outbreaks that have grown and impacted on the wider community."
People can help to fight the virus in the following ways:
Councillor Duggins added: "This is in everyone's interests and it's not just about diagnosing individual cases, it's about understanding how widely the virus has spread. We can identify hotspots and act to contain and control the virus.
"Individuals and businesses can all play a vital role and it's essential that we all follow Public Health England’s advice on reporting cases promptly."
From Monday 3 August there will be two testing centres in Coventry – a mobile unit on Moat Street Car Park in the city centre will complement the existing regional centre at the Ricoh Arena.
To book a test, visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or dial 119. All tests are free and anyone asking you to pay for one means it will be a scam.