People in Oxfordshire are being urged to follow social distancing and exercise caution as lockdown if further eased.

The safety of residents is in their own hands and they should not let the change in rules allow them to relax and go easy on the virus.

Oxfordshire County Council’s public health team and its equivalents around England have been working hard with partners in the NHS, partner councils and Public Health England to formulate plans to deal with any local outbreaks.  However, the public have a vital role to play in preventing such outbreaks occurring in the first place.

In line with the Government’s national strategy the plan is to seek to contain local instances of COVID-19. With the number of local and national deaths and cases in decline there is to be a combined effort to try to avoid any second wave everywhere across England.

Ansaf Azhar, the county council’s Director for Public Health, said: “Everyone in Oxfordshire has worked extremely hard to bring the number of cases Oxfordshire down, but the threat from the virus is far from over and we must not let our guard down.  We must not now undo all this hard work.

“Every single one of us is responsible for preventing local outbreaks and keeping Oxfordshire safe. Our safety is literally in our own hands. All of that good, simple advice that we’ve been given since March still applies – wash your hands regularly, keep your distance, avoid busy gatherings and stay alert.

“Lockdown may be easing but the advice is clear – don’t go easy on the virus. If any of us as individuals do go easy on the virus it will not go easy on us in return. We are still at national alert level 3, which means the virus is still out there. Everybody should remember that.

“We will work promptly with employers, schools, factories, health settings and any other place where an uptick in cases is noted. Our message to businesses is that you should do everything in your power to keep your staff and your customers safe as we enter the new phase of our response to COVID-19.

“Comprehensive national guidance is in place for business who are searching for more advice and we urge businesses to study it in detail.

“I thank people for their response since March. We owe it to ourselves, our families, our neighbours, our work colleagues and our fellow Oxfordshire residents to keep up the good work, take individual responsibility and continue diligently abiding by the sensible precautions that have served us so well thus far.”