Council bosses in Staffordshire are urging people to continue following lockdown rules with cases in the county still above the national average.
Officials said cases were falling in most areas but, alarmingly, rising in Tamworth. Testing for the highly-transmissible South African variant is still taking place in Stafford borough.
After Boris Johnson unveiled his road map this week, people have been urged to ensure they don’t stop following the rules now. Those in hotspot areas are also being encouraged to get tests to prevent the virus spreading.
Dr Johnny McMahon Staffordshire County Council’s health chief, said: “Schools are returning on March 8 and plans to slowly return to normality are in place.
“However, we plead with Staffordshire residents to remain cautious.
“The latest virus data shows how quick things can change – not all areas of the county are showing cases falling and we are still midway through screening for the South African strain.
“Relaxing of the rules must be treated with extreme caution and be a gradual process – we cannot allow ourselves to become impatient.
“The current lockdown rules are still in place. Please stick to them, get tested regularly and take the vaccination when it is offered to you.
“This cautious approach will lead us slowly – and most important of all – safely back to the normality we all crave.”