THE alert level for coronavirus in West Sussex has been escalated after an increasing number of cases.

West Sussex County Council has introduced a traffic light system to keep residents informed about the rate of infection in the county and the number of confirmed cases.

On Thursday, 116 new cases had been confirmed within the past seven days, and West Sussex Covid-19 Health Protection Board decided to raise the alert level to yellow.

This means there has been an increase in cases from the green level, where confirmed cases are described as low and contained.

The next level up from yellow is amber, where there is “raised local concern”. In this situation the council says it would make recommendations to “highlight groups and settings that are particularly affected” to reduce the risk of transmission.

If the alert level is raised to red, where confirmed cases are at a “very high level”, local lockdown restrictions could be enforced with the involvement of central government.

On Thursday the total number of cases in the county stood at 3,244, while the rate of transmission was 375.5 per 100,000 people.

Residents are now being urged to prevent the spread of the virus further by following the “Rule of Six” by meeting up in groups no larger than six people, both indoors and outdoors.

The county council has increased its targeted campaign to remind people to wash their hands regularly, practise social distancing, wear a face mask when appropriate and to get tested when they have symptoms.

Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health, said: “So far in West Sussex we have seen a relatively low number of cases of coronavirus. However, in line with national trends there has been an increase in recent weeks of the number of people who have tested positive.

“It is important we do all we can to keep numbers as low as possible. In line with government guidance, please do not meet in groups of more than six people.

“I am very grateful to all residents for their continued efforts to ensure the county remains safe. We have done so well to control the spread of Covid-19 in the county up until now and we are keen to keep it that way to ensure we can #KeepWestSussexSafe.”

On Thursday Brighton and Hove was also put on a put on a yellow warning, a week after a record number of new cases were reported in a single day, at 21. Previously, the highest number the city has recorded in a single day was 20, on April 8.