PEOPLE in Oxfordshire have been urged not to let up in the war on coronavirus as the number of cases are now six times more than a fortnight ago.

With Government announcements on the next stage of the national roadmap due to be announced on Monday, residents are urged to get tested twice a week and book their vaccine appointments.

The latest data reveals that Covid-19 cases rose from 8.4 per 100,000 of the population to 48 cases per 100,000 in the county from May 21 until June 4.

Ansaf Azhar, director for public health at Oxfordshire County Council, highlighted that a six-fold increase in cases in the space of a fortnight is a ‘clear reminder that we should all go about our daily lives with due caution’.

He added: “The way to protect yourself and your family is to get the jab when called, get tested often and remember the basics of hands, space, face and fresh air.

“It was great news this week that over 25s can now be vaccinated and we urge people in that age group to book their first jab as soon as possible.

“There is also good news in that hospital admissions and deaths have not yet shown an increase despite increasing cases.

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“However, the more we can contain the virus and limit transmission, the better chance we give the vaccine to continue doing the great job that it is doing.”

The number of cases overall rose from 147 (week-ending May 28) to 332 (week-ending June 4).

Current case rates for Oxfordshire districts are Cherwell: 25.9 cases per 100,000; Oxford: 56.4 cases per 100,000, South Oxfordshire: 68.3 cases per 100,000; Vale of White Horse: 49.3 cases per 100,000 and West Oxfordshire: 38.9 cases per 100,000.

Mr Azhar added that cases both locally and nationally are rising quite sharply.

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A final decision on whether the Government will extend restrictions beyond June 21 is set to be announced by the Prime Minister on Monday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday there was a ‘challenging decision’ to be made over the further lifting of Covid-19 rules.

Mr Azhar commented on what people can do to keep the case numbers low: “In effect, we are in a big partnership – the vaccine is a very strong new partner in the battle against the virus, but the other parts of the partnership are the trusted duo of our own behaviours and testing.

“A six-fold increase in cases in the space of a fortnight is a clear reminder that we should all go about our daily lives with due caution.

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“We are in June now and the weather is often fine and warm.

“It therefore makes sense for people to choose to mix outdoors even though the rules say that limited indoor mixing is now possible.

“The vaccine is doing a great job, but we need to do our bit too and ensure we are doing everything possible to stop the spread.

“The first dose of the vaccine will only give good protection three or four weeks after you have had it. You need two doses for strong and longer-lasting protection.”