HEALTH chiefs in Oxfordshire have urged people to continue to obey lockdown measures but reassured them help is still available.

Ansaf Azhar, the Director for Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council said: “We’re in April now, the evenings are lighter and there’ll be a huge temptation for people to head outdoors and enjoy the countryside.

"My advice: stay indoors and do not increase the risk to you and others, including your loved ones. It is essential that you follow this guidance.

"There is now high level of Coronavirus transmission in the community and it is really important to stay indoors to protect yourself and others.

"The peak of the coronavirus situation in the UK is likely to be in the next week or two and if people either locally or nationally relax now, they run the risk of substantially increasing the rate of infection and overwhelming our NHS."

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Dr Kiren Collison, GP and Clinical Chair of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said if patients did need help or advice then 'we are still here for you' but asked people to use GP services 'appropriately' so that they are able to look after those who need care the most.

She added: "We will do all we can to help you over the phone or video - however, should we feel the need to see you face to face for an examination, we will arrange that.”

People who suspect they have coronavirus are advised to go to NHS online and use the 111 coronavirus service to get support and advice.

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Someone should only call 111 if they feel they cannot handle their symptoms at home or do not have internet access.

For a medical problem that isn’t coronavirus related people are asked to contact their GP in the normal way.

All GP appointments will initially be on the telephone.

The GP will do all they can to help over the phone – however, should they feel the need to see someone face to face for an examination, the person will be invited to the surgery for review.

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Staying at home wherever possible is one of the best ways to keep you and those around you safe.

“It also plays a vital part in helping all of our staff treat people – by staying at home, you reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time.

This means we can focus on those who really need us and protect both our patients and our staff to the best of our abilities.”