A Bourton councillor has called for action to “save Christmas” following a sharp rise in Cotswolds Covid cases.

In recent weeks Gloucestershire has seen a “confirmed case rate increase” of 327.7 per cent, taking the figure to 634.2 people per 100,000.

The huge increase is thought to be the result of testing issues at a Wolverhampton lab reported by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which caused much lower figures than was the case.

Between September 8 and October 12, an estimated 43,000 people received incorrect negative PCR test results however since then, samples have been redirected to alternative laboratories while some people have been retested, resulting in a sharp rise in cases.

Gloucestershire County councillor Paul Hodgkinson, who represents Bourton, says the situation is worse than it has ever been.

He said: “I’m alarmed to see cases of Covid-19 in Gloucestershire sky-rocket, with the highest number of cases ever-recorded being set this past week. This has only been exacerbated by failures at the Wolverhampton lab, providing false negatives to our residents, who will have spread the virus further as a result. While the vaccine will limit the worst of the affects, a higher number of cases will still lead to our hospitals being overwhelmed and, inevitably, more deaths.

“Government inaction during the first wave inevitably cost tens of thousands of lives. It is time Johnson shows that he has learned to follow the science and reintroduce certain to save lives and to save Christmas.

“So many of my residents were left heartbroken ten months ago as a result of last-minute changes by the Government restricting family gatherings around the Christmas table. Nobody wants another Christmas like the last, and the only way to avoid this is to act immediately.”

Councillor Hodgkinson also stated that in the Cotswolds 500 people per 100,000 have tested positive, the highest the figure has ever been.

He added: “I know that people locally are much more concerned than they were just a few weeks ago and my advice is to be cautious and to make sure you get the booster vaccine if you’re over 50. To residents in Bourton and the surrounding area my message is ‘please stay safe’.

Commenting on the issues at the Wolverhampton lab, Sarah Scott, executive director for Adult Social Care and Public Health at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “There will almost certainly have been additional community transmission as a consequence of these problems which will result in more people needing the care and support of our hardworking NHS and social care colleagues.

“The number of positive cases is likely to continue rising steeply, possibly towards some of highest levels in the UK, before settling to our actual rate.”