CORONAVIRUS cases in Oldham have hit a new record high of 788 per 100,000 exceeding the previous high point of 754 per 100,000 from early November 2020.

The surge has sparked fears that cases will continue to rise in line with the relaxation of the majority of legal Covid restrictions.

Oldham now has the second highest rate in Greater Manchester and is in the top 20 nationally. The number of deaths in the borough has also risen in recent weeks, and cases are rocketing in all age groups and communities.

Oldham Council leader Arooj Shah and Oldham director of public health Katrina Stephens are urging residents to keep their friends, family and community safe.

Cllr Shah said: “I know how hard it’s been for Oldham residents over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. Everyone has made sacrifices to try and keep the infection rate down, and over the last 18 months or so we have seen tougher restrictions here than in many other parts of the country.

“But although most legal restrictions have now ended, with Coronavirus rates high and rising, now is not the time to stop protecting ourselves and each other. We know what we have to do - wear face coverings in public places, socially distance, keep getting tested and get a vaccine when you’re able to."

Oldham director of public health Katrina Stephens added: “We’re not looking at small outbreaks or certain areas that only need to pay attention to the rising rates; we are seeing increases in Coronavirus rates across all age groups across the borough.

“We’re also starting to see Coronavirus related deaths rising in Oldham again which is a major concern along with the rising case numbers.

“We must ensure that as we enjoy more freedom we all continue to take action to protect ourselves and each other from spreading the virus. Remember to follow the hands, face, space guidance, take regular covid tests, isolate if you need to do so and where possible meet others outdoors.”

Vaccination clinics are open daily across Oldham. Both walk in and appointment vaccination clinics can be attended by all those aged 18 and over to get their jab.

Residents can book an appointment for a Coronavirus vaccination online through the national online booking system.