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'Stay on guard' as Oxford avoids COVID-19 restrictions


4 September 2020 - the alert status for positive COVID-19 cases in Oxford has fallen from amber to yellow after a drop in cases following a fortnight of successive rises.

However, Oxfordshire's public health officials are still asking people in Oxford to remain on their guard and follow infection control methods: wash your hands, wear a mask, and observe a social distance.

The number of cases in the city in the week up to 28 August 2020 was 23 - contributing to a figure of 63 for the whole of Oxfordshire. The equivalent figure for the county in the previous week was 88. In Oxford the figure was 41.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council's Director for Public Health said: "While the figures are going in the right direction, now is not the time to relax. We've had an uncomfortable period of being statistically close to areas of the country that we know are on the Government watchlist.

"It may be that the message is getting through to people that they must self-isolate if they are returning from holiday in a country that is not on the exemption list. It may also be that people have responded by remembering to do the basics - keeping their distance, washing their hands and wearing a face covering.

"What is for certain is that if we forget those basics again and slide into bad habits, those figures will rise once more and we'll be heading at speed into becoming an area of concern for central Government and ultimately lockdown.

"We have been heavily targeting messages at the 18-29 year-old age group that had been the catalyst for this rise in cases in Oxford. We hope to have had an impact.

"However, the reminder is a constant one for everyone. Do not let your guard down. COVID-19 is still circulating and the only way to suppress it is by our own actions as individuals, families, colleagues and neighbours.

"This advice will apply this week, next week and every week until we are able nationally and internationally to say that COVID-19 no longer presents a risk. We are watching the statistics on a daily basis and will respond to trends as they emerge."