OXFORD could shoot to the top of the UK's coronavirus hotspots in the 'blink of an eye' if people do not obey the Government's 'rule of six'.

That is the stark warning from the county's Director of Public Health as Oxford has once again reached 'amber alert' due to rising coronavirus cases.

It comes as shocking video has emerged of students ignoring social distancing rules at a huge party at Oxford Brookes University. 

Ansaf Azhar, who is in charge of managing the Oxfordshire response to Covid-19, has also urged people to only book a test if they display symptoms due to a surge in demand.

He said: “Since Oxford’s cases last rose to amber, there has been a large rise in cases across the entire country. 

Witney Gazette: Oxfordshire's Director of Public Health Ansaf AzharOxfordshire's Director of Public Health Ansaf Azhar

"The Government has instigated its 'rule of six' in an attempt to tackle this rise and I appeal to everyone in Oxfordshire to abide by this new rule.

"Only by cutting down the number of close interactions between individuals can we stop the spread of this virus.

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"That has been seen very clearly throughout the world."

He said the rule was an attempt to 'get on top' of the rise without having to resort to a full national lockdowm

He added: "Locally, if we want to avoid the tighter restrictions that we have seen in the North West, our best strategy is to follow the rule of six to the letter and to keep doing those basics – wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a face mask."

Witney Gazette: Oxfordshire infection rates to September 11Oxfordshire infection rates to September 11

The weekly infection rate in the city stands at 25.6 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days up to September 11. This is based on 39 new positive tests.

It has stayed at or near the 25 needed to push the Oxford onto an amber alert since late last week.

The rate for the whole of Oxfordshire, meanwhile, is 14.3 due to lower cases across the other districts. 

Mr Azhar said due to rising coronavirus cases nationally, while the city's August amber status put Oxford in the top 20 in the country the city was currently 'nowhere near' the top group.

However, he added: "We have seen how quickly things can change.

"If we don’t take the rule of six seriously, we could be at the top of that league table in the blink of an eye, with local lockdown measures in place. Let’s not go there."

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On testing, the public health chief said Oxfordshire has had among the highest rates of testing in the South East but, as with other parts of the country, 'we do have an issue with rising demand'. 

Testing is available at Oxford Parkway and Oxford Brookes University but only via booking online.

Hospitals bosses at the John Radcliffe have also warned people not to go to A&E for a test.

There are hopes of securing an additional local testing site in Oxford as well as further sites across the county.

Public health directors across the country are continuing to highlight the problem of testing availability to central Government.