Coronavirus cases in Wiltshire, like elsewhere in the country, have continued to increase despite the restrictions imposed by the second lockdown.

According to the latest data by Public Health England, 674 new infections were picked up in the latest seven-day period, an increase of 148 compared to the previous week.

The rate of new cases has risen to 134.8 from 105.2 in the space of one week.

While numbers are lower than the average case rate for the South West (272) and England (240), cases are rising among all age groups, including the over 60s.

So what happens when restrictions are eased from December 3?

The Prime Minister announced last night (November 23) that when lockdown ends, the three-tier system will return with a number of changes restricting how many people we can see and what we can do.

Which areas will be in which tier will be revealed on Thursday.

Kate Blackburn, the director of Public Health for Wiltshire, hopes numbers in the county will start declining before we enter the tier system - something we have not yet seen possibly due to a data lag.

Speaking at Tuesday's media briefing, she said: "There's always a delay in what the figures are showing as to what's happened in the preceding few weeks so as we continue to see cases rise, that was infection that was already in place when the restrictions came in.

"What we would hope is in the next few days we start to see the plateau and decline."

In the first two weeks of November, Ms Blackburn says there was indeed a plateau after a steep rise in October. But case rates began to increase again soon after and have been increasing since.

If the trend continues, it is likely infections will rise even further.

She added: "It was really interesting for me that we had a two-week period of plateau in case rates when everybody else in the South West was still increasing. 

"We don't know why that is. It wasn't a reduction in the people going for testing within the Wiltshire local authority area so it's one of those slightly unknowns in that we are relying on data that doesn't tell us the complete pictures in all instances.

"If restrictions are eased at a point where infection is still high within the community [the virus] will continue to circulate and rise, that's why it's so important [to continue] hand washing, social distancing... Not giving the virus an opportunity to go to another person is the key to how we'll get those numbers down."

Coronavirus cases remain "evenly spread" across the county and no hotspots have been identified, according to the council.

Due to the continuing rise in cases, Ms Blackburn says she hopes the approach towards Christmas will be "very cautious," adding: "the virus doesn't understand it's Christmas and as we said before the virus likes people so the more time and the more people you see, the more likely you are to contract this virus".