THE number of recorded coronavirus cases in Oxfordshire increased by 152 in 24 hours, according to the latest official figures.

Public Health England figures show that 30,118 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Thursday in Oxfordshire, up from 29,966 the same time on Wednesday.

The health body is now including Pillar 2 tests – those carried out by commercial partners – alongside Pillar 1 tests, which are analysed in NHS or PHE laboratories and which made up the first stage of the Government's nationwide mass testing programme.

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The rate of infection in Oxfordshire now stands at 4,354 cases per 100,000 people, far lower than the England average of 6,056.

Across the UK, the number of recorded cases increased by 20,634 over the period, to 3,892,459.

Oxfordshire's cases were among the 489,657 recorded across the South East region, a figure which rose by 2,615 over the period.

Cumulative case counts include patients who are currently unwell, have recovered and those that have died.

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As the number of daily new cases across England continues to fall, there have been questions about how long the current lockdown should go on.

The Prime Minister said March 8 was the 'prudent' date for the reopening of schools in England, suggesting it could also be a date for the easing of lockdown.

Speaking at Wednesday, he said the Government had chosen that date as it was projected to be three weeks after the most vulnerable groups had received the vaccine, and immunity had set in.