OXFORD residents are being asked to stay home, as Covid rates in parts of the city are soaring.

Earlier this week, Oxfordshire's top public health official Ansaf Azhar told people across the county that they should stay home because of the high prevalence of coronavirus in the community.

Parts of northern Oxfordshire are particularly badly hit, but within Oxford, Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill and Littlemore all have more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people – among the highest rates in the country, according to data from January 13.

Louise Upton, Oxford City Council cabinet member for safer, healthy Oxford said: “These figures are a shocking reminder that the virus is right here on our doorsteps, Oxford families are getting sick and people are losing loved ones. Every time you flex the rules or mix with people when you don’t need to, you’re adding to the risk in your community."

Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini, the city councillor for Northfield Brook, warned people in her area to follow the rules.

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Dr Djafari-Marbini said: “My heart goes out to every family affected knowing what a terrible disease Covid 19 can be. We all need to redouble our efforts to work towards improving the living and working conditions of our residents.

"Finally as an NHS worker I urge you all to continue doing your part.”

Public health director Ansaf Azhar said a third of people would not realise they had Covid due to asymptomatic cases and advised everyone to 'act like you’ve got it '.

Mr Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health said: “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."