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Oxfordshire remains at 'high' COVID alert level as cases increase by 50 percent


This article is from 17 December 2020 - the situation may change with time.

The Government confirmed on 17 December 2020 that Oxfordshire will remain at the tier 2 'high' alert level as part of the national system of restrictions in place to combat the COVID-19 virus.

Cases of the virus are rising sharply across Oxfordshire. In the seven days up to 17 December 2020, cases increased by almost 50 percent to 862, with rises seen across all districts. The weekly rate currently stands at 124.6 per 100,000, which compares with 83.7 for the week ending 4 December 2020.

The tier 2 restrictions will remain in place for two weeks, with the next Government review expected to take place on 30 December 2020.

The exception to these tier 2 rules will be from 23 to 27 December, when up to three households can form an exclusive Christmas bubble - although during this period we are strongly encouraged to limit our contact with family and friends and delay seeing elderly relatives until they have been vaccinated.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council's Director for Public Health, said: "Tier 2 status reflects our current situation locally, but case numbers are rising sharply across all districts.

"We're far from out of the woods and we could easily find ourselves in tier 3 in the New Year unless we act now. We have seen that our neighbours in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire have been placed in tier 3 from Saturday 19 December 2020. That is a clear warning.

"Unless we all take personal responsibility as individuals and families throughout the coming weeks, we risk creating a situation in January 2021 that will see steeply rising numbers of cases at exactly the time of year when viruses thrive. This means putting even more pressure on our NHS at its busiest time of year. We need to act now to protect our loved ones, our communities, and the NHS as we enter 2021.

"I would urge everyone to be extra vigilant in the run-up to Christmas and to think carefully about their plans over the festive period. It is up to all of us to stop the spread."

A comprehensive set of Q&A about the tier 2 restrictions is available on the Oxfordshire County Council website.