CITY leaders said they cannot guarantee that Southampton will not go into lockdown and they have asked residents to comply with the rules.

Civic chiefs at Southampton City Council have praised local residents for the way they have complied with the Covid-19 rules over the past months.

But they have now urged them to continue to do so.

It comes as city bosses said they cannot guarantee that the city will not see a local lockdown in the future.

Cllr Christopher Hammond, leader of the council,said: "We can't guarantee that Southampton will not go into lockdown. That will be a Secretary of State decision but we are going to do everything we can to avoid that."

He said the council is working with universities and "young people are not to blame".

But he said he would expect students to adhere to the rules. An action plan to avoid the spread of the virus is already in place and it is going to be discussed at a virtual council meeting today at 5.30pm.

Cllr Hammond said the council is doing all it can but the government should "sort out" a test and trace system.

Debbie Chase, director of public health at the city council, said the situation across the city is kept under review. She said the authority is working with businesses, universities and organisations. Ms Chase said the rate of infection remains below the national average. But she added: "I am confident that we are working really hard to reduce the risk of a local lockdown but the situation can change rapidly."