BRIGHTON and Hove could be placed under a local lockdown unless "extra efforts" are made to stop the spread of coronavirus, a health chief has warned.

The warning comes just a week after people in Brighton and Hove were told that the city was "a long way from a local lockdown" as the number of cases fell for a third week in a row.

But, today, the city's Covid-19 alert level has been raised from yellow to amber after the number of weekly cases almost tripled.

LIVE UPDATES>>>All the latest as Brighton and Hove's Covid alert level is raised to amber following a sharp increase in cases

In the week leading up to October 1 there were 115 confirmed new Covid-19 cases in the city, compared to 39 cases the week before.

Director of public health Alistair Hill said: “It’s really concerning that the number of cases has more than doubled over the past week. 

Read more>>>University of Brighton confirms first Covid cases

"If transmission keeps increasing we risk the Government imposing more restrictions on the city. 

“We all now need to make extra efforts or risk a local lockdown.

The Argus: Alistair Hill.jpg

“I am asking everyone in the city to play your part by making extra efforts to keep your distance, wash your hands, wear a face covering, limit contact with others and follow the rule of six.

"And if you do have Covid symptoms please self-isolate, along with your household members, and get tested.”

Read more>>>Health chief says Brighton and Hove is a 'long way from local lockdown'

The upgraded amber alert is part of the traffic-light system introduced by Brighton and Hove City Council at the start of the month.

A red alert is the most severe and is preceded by amber, yellow and finally green.

Mr Hill urged people to take precautionary measures when taking part in activities which could contribute to the spread of coronavirus.

The Argus:

This included socialising, car-sharing and sports.

He said: "We know that most infections happen when people from different households mix and socialise with each other. This includes house and flat shares as well as families. 

“That is why social distancing, face coverings, reducing your number of contacts and the rule of six are so important. The virus spreads most quickly when people are close together. 

Read more>>>Map shows potential coronavirus 'hotspots' in Brighton and Hove

“The hands, face and space guidelines prevent the virus spreading, but only if we keep to them, especially when meeting other people.

"Not just socialising, this includes car sharing and sports as well places where people cluster like queues and shops.”

But Mr Hill did say the sudden rise in coronavirus cases could be partially explained by an increase in testing in the city, with a new walk-through test centre in East Brighton Park.

The Argus:

He said: "On behalf of residents, the council worked hard to ensure that the government increased testing capacity in Brighton and Hove. 

“With the new local testing unit in East Brighton and a local mobile testing unit, in the last ten days of September the rate of local people tested increased by more than 60 per cent.

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"This gives a more accurate picture of the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 than we had in the previous week.

"However, this does not explain all the increase that we have seen. In common with most areas in the country, it is likely that the data shows infection rates are on the rise.”