BARNSLEY remains on a knife edge as the worst-hit area in South Yorkshire for coronavirus cases, MP Dan Jarvis has warned.

The Barnsley Central MP has urged the public to remain cautious after it was revealed this week that cases are still well above the national average.

Numbers have crept up in Wombwell, leading the council to send officers onto the streets to remind people of the risks of Covid-19, as well as a new pop-up testing centre being introduced.

Barnsley currently has 16 cases per 100,000, having increased to 24 per 100,000 at the beginning of the month due to spikes in one local community and care homes.

The national average for England is currently 11.9 per 100,000 people, showing Barnsley to be above the national average, though the town is not currently being considered for a local lockdown.

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Dan said: “Shops, pubs, restaurants, cinemas and places of worship are now open, and we can meet up with friends and family again. But we must not become complacent as a result.

“Coronavirus still poses a very real threat, and locally the situation remains precarious, with latest data showing a significantly higher rate of infection than the national average.

“We have just regained many aspects of normal life, but if cases rise beyond acceptable levels, we will have no alternative but to give them up once more.”

Dan is urging the public to adhere to social distancing measures and to follow the rules on quarantine as he continues to work with local authorities to assess the situation.

“To keep ourselves and other safe, and avoid that painful choice, we all have a responsibility to follow the guidelines,” he added.

“I’m continuing to work with our local authorities and the NHS to assess the situation.

“We are closely monitoring the data and will act quickly if we need to introduce further measures to reduce the spread of the virus in our region.

“Without a vaccine the only way to prevent the spread of this virus is by following the guidelines, and working together to protect our health and the health of others.

“We need everyone in Barnsley to continue following the rules so we can make more progress and further relax the lockdown measures - rather than having to make them stricter.”

Julia Burrows, director of public health for Barnsley Council, confirmed cases have increased throughout August.

“This was partly driven by a cluster in a local community and partly by new cases in care homes,” she added.

“Barnsley is not on the national watchlist for areas of concern and coronavirus continues to be closely monitored and managed locally.

“However, the risk from coronavirus is still very real, and it is important that we all adhere to the guidance to reduce transmission locally.”