SHROPSHIRE Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and public health says it is a case of 'when rather than if' further coronavirus restrictions will be implemented in the county.

The council announced on Wednesday that a move into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions is growing closer after a ‘surge in cases’.

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, Dean Carroll, has urged residents to be vigilant in following safety guidelines on the back of a rise in cases.

The increase saw 332 new cases confirmed in the county between October 16 and October 22.

Mr Carroll described the increase in cases as alarming and strongly urged residents in Shropshire to protect the older and vulnerable people in the county, particularly during winter.

He said: “It’s now of a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ further restrictions will be implemented by the government.

“This is now about looking out for and protecting our older and more vulnerable members of the community, especially as we move into the winter.

“We know that older people are especially are at risk of becoming seriously ill and sadly dying from coronavirus – so we all must 'Step Up' and stop it spreading.

“Younger people could bring the virus into their family and pass it on to someone older and more at risk.”

Mr Carroll encouraged people to work together to slow down the infection rate as Christmas approaches.

He said: “Christmas is just around the corner, and I’m sure all of you, like me, want to be able to spend it with our loved ones. We all need to pull together to make this a reality.

“We are asking people to consider limiting the number of people you come into contact with – the fewer people you see, the less chance you have of catching and spreading the virus.

“It’s also worth noting that the risks of catching the virus are much higher indoors. Where possible I recommend meeting up with friends and family outdoors, where the risk is lower.

“It’s also important to try and keep at least 2m apart when meeting with people outside of your social bubble.

“I can’t say it enough: keep washing your hands, wear face coverings when required, limit the number of households you are in contact with and don’t get together in groups of more than six. Social distancing is one of the best ways to limit the spread of the virus.”

The number of cases in Shropshire has surged again this week, at one point reaching a rate of 128.74 per 100,000 over seven days.

The county is currently in Tier 1 (Medium risk), under which the Rule of Six and enforced closure of hospitality venues at 10pm must be followed.

A move to Tier 2 (High risk) would mean people in Shropshire would be prohibited from socialising with anybody not in their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.