Young people across the West Midlands are being urged to stay vigilant during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite a slight drop in the number of new cases across the region.
In the seven days up to 31 August, the number of cases for the seven metropolitan authorities stood at 13.7 per 100,000 population - down from 13.8 for the previous week.
However, the rate of new diagnoses remains above the national rate and, as the leaders of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils met to discuss the regional picture, they highlighted an increase in cases among young people, as more than one in five cases across the region over the last fortnight come from the 20-29 age group.
Stressing the need for continued vigilance to reduce the threat of further Covid-19 lockdowns, the Leader of Solihull Council, Cllr Ian Courts, said: "As we're seeing elsewhere in the country, there's been an increase in coronavirus cases among 20-30 year-olds in the West Midlands and they now account for just over 20% of all new cases. We have also seen an increase in cases among older teenagers.
"It's important to stress that young people are not immune to this awful virus and sadly, as we've seen in other countries, rising cases among young people can result in the spread of the virus into the homes of older and more vulnerable adults. We've seen that peaks in cases amongst young people are often followed several weeks later by rises in hospitalisation and deaths, so it is essential that we contain the spread in all ages.
"We've all missed out on so much this year and I understand that everyone is desperate for a return to normality, but it's vitally important that we all remain vigilant to help reduce the spread of the virus - not just to keep ourselves safe, but to protect our families, friends and others throughout the region.
“Finally, I want to make it clear that we have been doing really well in Solihull, keeping the infection rate to a relatively low level. This is down to each and every one of you doing the right thing for Solihull. Please keep doing the key things that will keep our numbers low – social distancing, washing hands frequently, wearing face coverings and at the first sign of Covid-19 getting a test!