SOUTHAMPTON residents have been urged to continue to follow the latest coronavirus rules amid a surge in cases.

Dr Debbie Chase, the director of public health in the city, said it is “likely” that the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 will become more dominant than the Delta variant “within a short period of time”.

But she stressed that the way people can help stop the spread of the virus remains the same.

When asked how residents should behave over the festive period she said: “It is important that we continue to follow the official guidance to reduce the chances of our local NHS services coming under unsustainable pressure.

“We can all play our part by continuing to test before meeting up with people, wearing a mask in public spaces and having our vaccinations and booster shots when eligible.

“We can also limit the spread of the virus by meeting up with our friends and family outdoors, or keeping the space well ventilated if meeting people indoors. By practising these safe behaviours we can help to limit the spread of Omicron while still enjoying this time of year with those closest to us.”

Across the UK, 37,101 Omicron cases have been identified so far.

The total number of Omicron cases in Southampton has not been confirmed.

But according to the official figures, 2,195 people in the city tested positive to Covid over the past seven days – a 58.4% increase when compared to the previous week.

Some experts have called for further measures to be introduced across the country to stop the spread of the various.