A STARK warning has been shared by an Oxfordshire health boss ahead of the easing of restrictions on Monday, which include pubs and restaurants reopening indoors and six people or two households able to again mix indoors.

People in the county are being urged to familiarise themselves with the new national Covid-19 roadmap rules that will apply, so that they are aware of what they can and still cannot do.

A series of new changes are set to come into force despite a spike in Indian variant cases.

Public Health England figures show it has spread three times faster than other imported strains and is now dominant in several Covid-19 hotspots in the North West of England.

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Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s director for public health, confirmed that local cases have remained low as the vaccination programme is rolled out.

However, he added that the virus has not 'completely disappeared' and that there are still large parts of the population who have not yet been given their jab.

The third lifting of restrictions since the nation began emerging from lockdown in March will see all but the most high-risk businesses reopen indoors and socialising inside permitted.

Indoor hospitality will restart, with pubs and restaurants allowed to serve food and drinks to customers indoors for the first time since December.

Indoor entertainment can also resume, including cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas.

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Hotels, hostels and B&Bs will be able to take guests again, and overseas holidays will also be permitted for some countries with low levels of Covid.

Weddings will be allowed to have up to 30 people attending, and funerals can have as many as the venue can safely seat with social distancing rules.

Other events such as bar mitzvahs and christenings can also go ahead.

People can meet outdoors in groups of up to 30, and socialising indoors will be allowed in other people’s homes in groups of six or a maximum of two households.

Mr Azhar commented on the new round of rules: "The roadmap was drawn up with a gradual and cautious easing of restrictions in mind.

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"When combined with the vaccination programme and twice-weekly symptom-free rapid testing, it was seen as a careful way of reducing Covid-19’s habit of being the comeback kid – as we saw in September and October and in January this year.

"There are good reasons for welcoming these step three changes while at the same time reminding everyone that May 17 is not finale day.

"The virus still presents a real risk, particularly with the emergence of new variants, so we need to do everything we can to control the spread.

"We would therefore ask people to please continue to wear face coverings, keep a distance and wash your hands – the simple things that help so much.

"These measures apply to everyone regardless of whether you have been vaccinated.

"Regular testing also remains crucial to stop the spread."

In addition, Mr Azhar urged people to 'brush up' on all the new changes set to take place from Monday.