WORCESTER'S MP says the county ranking mid-table in the list of new Covid-19 cases is encouraging but the data will be monitored following a "big day" as more lockdown easing takes place this Saturday.

And Worcestershire County Council has published a plan on how it will prevent and deal with coronavirus outbreaks, following Leicester's lockdown this week.

This paper has previously reported that the latest Public Health England figures show the county had, during the week ending June 21, an infection rate of 5.7 cases per 100,000 people. In comparison Leicester had the highest infection rate in the UK with 135 cases per 100,000 people during that week.

Worcestershire County Council has published its Outbreak Control Plan, that sets out how the authority, working with others, are attempting to prevent outbreaks and how they would respond to any incidents of COVID-19 in Worcestershire.

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In the introduction to the document, Dr Kathryn Cobain,the authority's director of public health, says the aim is "to reduce the number of new community cases of Covid-19 to zero".

The plan says there would be "clear communication during outbreaks" and a Local Outbreak Response Team would manage an outbreak at a setting if one took place.

Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “This plan is a vital road map for our public health teams and our partners.

"It sets out a framework, to guide all of our healthcare experts, as we deal with potential outbreaks. It also establishes our route to preventing outbreaks in the first place.

"The plan is vital to help us all return to normal.”

Dr Cobain added: “We continue to rely on everyone to play their part, by booking a test if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, and by isolating. The outbreak plan is active and continuous. "We will be responding to the needs of our communities and we can all help to keep one another safe.”

Worcester's MP Robin Walker said Worcestershire's figure of 5.7 was encouraging, but added the virus "had not gone away".

"What is encouraging is not just that the cases are of a very low number, but that they have been consistent over the last few weeks, and we have not seen any pick or increase as elements of the lockdown have been relaxed," the MP said.

"There are big changes coming this weekend so we do need to keep a very close eye (on the figures) and I'm very sure that is something our local health team are doing.

"The county has published their plan on how they would take measures if we were to have a local lockdown. It is important they plan for that properly, obviously it is something we all hope won't happen and so far we are reassured there is no sign of it being needed in Worcestershire.

"I think the key thing is people need to make sure they are taking sensible precautions."