SOUTHAMPTON residents have been urged to stay safe after a recent rise in Covid-19 infections across the city. 

Deputy Director of the UK Health Security Agency South East, Trish Mannes, has said the virus "hasn't gone away". 

Her comments come after an increase in infections in Southampton in recent weeks.

Government data shows that 623 cases were recorded in Southampton last week, bringing the total number of infections in the city since the pandemic started to 84,415. 

This was a dramatic increase compared to the same time last month which saw 207 new cases recorded in a week. 

A new strain of the virus is thought to be behind the recent spike in cases. 

Daily Echo: Trish Mannes.Trish Mannes.

Ms Mannes said: "In recent weeks we have seen a rise in cases in Southampton with a shift in the dominant strain from the Omicron BA.2 variant.

"The latest data indicates that Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 now account for more than half of rising Covid-19 cases in the UK and are driving the recent increase in infections.

"We’ve learned so much in the last two years but as we move to living with Covid on a long-term basis, every one of us needs to remain vigilant, take precautions, and ensure that we’re up to date with our COVID-19 vaccinations.

"We need to continue to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and vaccination is the best form of defence we have. It’s never too late to get vaccinated."

The rise in cases is not said to have led to an increase in hospital admissions or deaths.

This is as a result of the vaccination programme across the UK. 

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Ms Mannes added: "Remember we can all play our part - stay at home if you have any respiratory symptoms or a fever and limit contact with others until you are feeling better, particularly if they are likely to be at greater risk if they contract Covid-19.

"Face coverings and hand washing still remain important in reducing transmission, consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces and washing your hands thoroughly and often, especially before and after getting on public transport or getting in from work, shops or the pub.

"Meeting others outside is much safer than indoors as the fresh air helps to blow the Covid-19 particles away. So, make the most of the warm weather over the summer and meet family and friends outside.

"Or if you meet indoors, let the fresh air in by opening doors and windows.

"Let’s enjoy the summer and our regained freedoms but keep in mind that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and we all need to do our bit to live safely."

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