THE warning seems to be very clear: our entire country is already over the limit to be slammed under a North East-style ‘high tier’ lockdown.

Part of what is saving us so far is the fact that a huge proportion of our county cases are relatively contained – at the two universities.

All it would take for that to change is for a few students to act in an irresponsible manner.

Of course, the latest outbreak among the young will spread to the older generation eventually: our own county director of public health Ansaf Azhar has warned this very clearly, and we have known all along that we cannot stop the spread of this virus completely.

However what we can do, and what we have been trying to do from the very beginning of lockdown in March, is slow the spread; flatten the curve.

If we do this, then we can help to keep the number of people catching the virus and requiring medical treatment lower, so that our health service can cope, while we wait for the boffins at the university to fine-tune their vaccine.

That is all we have ever been trying to do, and we have indeed been successful up to this point in Oxfordshire, as across the rest of the country.

All we need to do now is continue to be patient, and bear with current restrictions a little bit longer.

The students at both of our universities have, of course, been largely very responsible so far: a few bad sheep and one very large party at Brookes have given the rest a bad name.

While we wouldn't want all students to be locked up in their rooms until the end of term, so long as they continue to behave as responsibly as possible then we can hope to keep our county just on the right side of lockdown.

As we have said time and again, we are playing a waiting game: if we can put up with a few restrictions now, then we will hold onto much more of our precious freedom in the long run.