CASES of Covid-19 in Dorset have “declined rapidly” in recent weeks, public health officials have said.

Public Health Dorset said the actions of residents in following the national restrictions during the lockdown has had a “big impact” on the local situation.

Latest figures published today show across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, 339 new cases were confirmed between November 22 and 28, compared to 558 the previous week.

Bournemouth Echo:

In Dorset, cases fell from 263 to 167 during the same period.

The rate per 100,000 people is now 85.8 in the BCP area and 44.1 in Dorset.

Both of these are below the rate of 92.6 in the south west and 155.4 in England.

The number of patients currently in hospital beds in Dorset has also fallen from 146 to 127.

Public Health Dorset said: “COVID-19 cases have declined rapidly over the past few weeks. We would like to thank Dorset residents for playing their part and following the national restrictions - this has had a big impact on our local situation.”

“Tier 2 restrictions came into force on 2 December across Dorset and BCP Council areas. We know that most transmission takes place in indoor settings so we would urge everyone to only socialise with those outside your household outdoors.

“We know these restrictions are tough for everyone and we've had lots of questions this week about why they're needed in Dorset.”

As previously reported, Public Health Dorset issued an open letter to address questions raised by members of the public.

The letter said: "Collectively across the county we have a plan and roadmap to reach Tier 1. To achieve further freedoms, we need to keep faith in obeying the rules now. Stopping and limiting social mixing between households will bring our infection rates down.

"If we all continue to do that, as hard as it is, we stand a good chance of reaching the next review on December 16 with a strong chance of a positive decision to move to Tier 1. If infection rates continue to fall, we can expect less pressure on our hospitals, and a falling infection rate in our older population, all of which will be crucial in how that decision is made.”