The next two weeks are going to be “critical”, Wiltshire’s public health boss has warned, as the impact of loosened restrictions on Christmas Day starts to be reflected in official figures.

Although the county’s case rate “is starting to slow”, Kate Blackburn said, “it is too early to say that that is the trend” as, due to the usual data lag, we are yet to see the consequence of families getting together at Christmas.

Speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday January 12, Kate Blackburn, the director for public health for Wiltshire Council, said: “The data that’s coming through at the moment is just about starting to pick up infections that would have been transmitted over the Christmas period and we know that with any opportunity for people outside of your household to get together there is a real risk of viral transmission.

“Certainly the next two weeks in terms of case numbers will be really critical in how we see them either increasing or plateauing and then, of course, we’ve got the additional two to four weeks before that impact will hit the health service.”

In the latest weekly period, 1,831 new infections were reported in the Wiltshire Council area.

This gives a case rate of 366.2 per 100,000 which is almost three times the figure for the week ending on December 25 2020.

The total number of cases since the pandemic began is now 10,868 following 277 further infections being picked up in the latest 24-hour period.

The increase in cases and case rates is linked to the new, more infectious, variant which has been spreading faster among younger people.

To see the latest data on cases and rates in Salisbury click HERE.