A TEST Valley community leader has warned the public need to stop acting "complacent" towards coronavirus as the number of cases continues to escalate in Test Valley.

According to Government data, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases totalled 654 on Monday - up from 617 on Monday, September 28.

There was a spike in coronavirus cases on Friday, October 2 which saw 15 people test positive for the deadly bug.

The last time 15 cases were recorded in Test Valley was April 6, with the highest amount peaking at 18 cases on April 22.

An interactive map on the Government's website revealed the highest number of cases from September 26 to October 2 stood at 14 in Chilworth, Nursling and Rownhams.

The map, which uses data from Public Health England, unveiled Romsey Town had three cases in this time, while Romsey Cupernham and Halterworth recorded zero to two.

Now, Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), is calling on the public to remain vigilant against the virus, fearing the UK could crash into a "third wave" early next year.

She said: "People are getting very complacent now and everybody needs to think about how they behave towards this virus because it has not gone away.

"We cannot letup now because the Government did say the minute the colder weather arrives the cases will rise and my biggest worry is the figures are starting to reflect that."

Cllr Baverstock added she believes it will be "very hard on health services" if cases continue to rise in line with the flu season, fearing the country could encounter "a third wave" in the spring.

However, deputy leader for TVBC, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said the rising cases are not a cause for concern, claiming there is a low number of people who are in Southampton General Hospital with coronavirus.

He said: "There are still relatively few people in Southampton General Hospital with coronavirus and it is the hospital admissions that I think are more important than the number of positive tests.

"We know most people who get the virus don't need to go to the hospital, so as long as hospitals can cope the number of cases doesn't necessarily concern me."