THE county's public health boss has urged residents to keep following lockdown rules whilst in Tier 2 to "take control of the virus" ahead of Christmas.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, director for Public Health for Worcestershire, said coronavirus cases had started to stabilise during the second national lockdown and the coming weeks were a "real opportunity to take control of the virus and get the county's figures down."

Worcestershire’s infection rate has continued to fall, according to the latest Public Health figures with rate at 190.8 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to November 20 - falling from 246.4 in the week up to November 12.

Dr Cobain said: “I would like to thank you all for your continued hard work in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19.

"During these recent restrictions, we have seen some positive signs that Covid-19 cases are starting to stabilise in the county. The tier we will be in from December 2, will be reviewed every two weeks so it is important that we keep these figures heading in the right direction.

"Therefore, we need to continue to follow the measures in place to protect us all. We need to keep following the rules and keep building on the hard work we have done so far.

"This is a real opportunity, to take control of the virus, get our figures down and reduce the risk of transmission, especially with Christmas around the corner. It is up to us all now to keep going with the good work, by social distancing, by wearing a face covering, by washing our hands regularly and limiting our contacts.”

Cllr John Smith, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council, said: “These new measures represent a renewed opportunity to get our numbers down even more," he said.

"If we keep working together to follow the rules, we will keep the people of Worcestershire safe and reduce the transmission of the virus."

Business leaders have said the tier announcement would be disappointing for some businesses and hoped the measures would see the county move out of tier 2 in a fortnight's time.

Sharon Smith, chief executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: "With no household mixing in any indoor setting, this puts many hospitality businesses at a further disadvantage which will see a dip in trade when allowed to reopen.

"The guidance given to business in the coming weeks on what exactly they can and cannot do must be delivered in a clear and timely manner by government to allow businesses time to prepare.

"We hope that the hard work of businesses around the region will lead to an improved picture in a couple of weeks’ time where the placement of the two counties will be reviewed."