Brakes more likely to be applied to Oxford’s lockdown emergence as COVID cases rise yet again
Measures that would slam the brakes on Oxford’s gradual emergence from lockdown have moved a step closer as a result of another week of uncomfortably high rises in COVID cases in the city.
The number of cases in Oxford in the week ending August 21 was 41 - which is 26.9 cases per 100,000 and sees the city moving ever closer to figures in parts of the country that have been labelled by central Government as areas of concern or that require intervention.
Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “With a Bank Holiday coming up, the need for people to abide by all of the things that we know stop the spread of this virus is greater than ever.
“We can see the number of people contracting COVID is increasing per 100,000 of the population on a day-by-day basis and it is very unsettling. Undoubtedly the 18-29 year age group is driving this rise in cases.
“We were able to leave lockdown and stay out of it because we were suppressing the virus locally by our own actions. We were keeping our distance from each other, sanitising and wearing masks. It feels to me like some people now believe the virus is gone for good. I can assure you that it hasn’t.
“My appeal to everyone in Oxford – and 18 to 29 year olds in particular – is to remember what got us out of lockdown. Do we really want to end up with the kind of local control measures we have seen introduced in various parts of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Leicester and Aberdeen?
“At the minute it feels like we are moving in that direction. People need to be aware their behaviour is putting themselves and others at risk. If you’re aged 18 to 29 and catch COVID-19, you are absolutely not guaranteed to get away with the mildest symptoms. Even mild symptoms are a struggle, while longer-term symptoms can include chronic fatigue, muscle weakness and memory loss.
“Equally you may well pass this on to older or more vulnerable people. How would you feel if you knew that someone was in hospital in a ventilator with their life under threat because you’d passed COVID-19 on to them?
“Now is the time to act to #stopthespread. I’ve said it over and over – this whole situation is in our own hands. We all need to act responsibly and follow the very simple advice. If we do that collectively, we will reverse this upward trend that we are seeing in Oxford. If we don’t bring the infection rate under control then measures will be introduced of the kind we’ve seen elsewhere in the country. It’s that simple.”
Mobile testing unit is being deployed in Oxford from tomorrow (Friday, August 28) until Sunday (August 30), 10am-4.30pm. The MTU will be sited on the car park in Union Street, just off Cowley Road, in Oxford (behind Tesco). People are able to drive or walk there, but are strongly encouraged to book first by calling 119 or registering online.