Don’t go out – the stark warning as COVID cases soar
Cherwell District now in England’s Top 50 COVID hotspots
The Cherwell District has moved into the top 50 coronavirus hotspots in England. Our area has seen COVID-19 rates rise to between 900 and 1,000 per 100,000 people – amongst the highest in the country.
Now Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, is urging us to stay at home, avoid mixing with other households, and abide by the lockdown rules to the letter to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the county.
Within the Cherwell District infection rates in part of Banbury stand out as particularly high.
Mr Azhar said: “The prevalence of COVID in Oxfordshire is higher than it has ever been. We are in a worse position than at the height of the first wave last spring, and the situation is continuing to deteriorate. In some parts of the county, such as the Hardwick and Ruscote areas of Banbury, we are seeing rates significantly higher than the Cherwell average.
“We are aware that people are fed up and want an end to all of this, but this is an exceptionally serious situation – we are in the eye of the storm. The vaccine will not start to have an influence for some weeks and so the only weapon we have against this virus is to stay at home and avoid mixing with people outside of our households. We are dealing with a new variant that is extremely infectious and therefore need to be even more careful than last spring.
“COVID-19 loves crowds. Only go shopping when it is essential, shop alone and shop local, keep two metres apart from others and remember that outdoor exercise is only allowed once per day. Being out and about presents a real risk, so limit the time you are out of the house and take every precaution. One in three people with COVID don’t know they have it so act like you’ve got it to reduce the spread. We need people to hear that message loud and clear.”
Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, said: “The past year has been difficult for everyone. We are all tired and frustrated about the ongoing restrictions. However, the situation in Cherwell is critical.
“Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising. It is more important than ever that we follow the rules and stay at home. We all have a part to play in bringing infection rates down in Cherwell and beyond and can do that by washing our hands regularly, using face coverings and making space.”