HAMPSHIRE police are urging residents to obey the 'rule of six' in the run-up to Halloween as coronavirus cases continue to increase.

According to Government data, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases totalled 754 on Monday - up from 680 on Monday, October 5.

There was a spike in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, October 7 which saw case numbers jump to 727 - 31 more than the previous day.

This is the biggest increase to be recorded in Test Valley.

A spokesperson from Hampshire police said: "The 'rule of six' is legislation and we expect people to follow it as a crucial measure to protect the public."

They emphasised they are working with their partners in public health, who "continue to monitor and assess risks locally", adding advice around Halloween will be lead by public health partners.

Hampshire County Council has stressed to the public they want everyone "to think very carefully" about how Halloween is celebrated this year, suggesting people can find "alternative ways to enjoy the event to ensure they stay COVID safe", according to a spokesperson from the local authority.

They added children and adults should avoid door-knocking to protect themselves and their neighbours from touching shared surfaces, such as buckets of treats.

The Government has not yet issued guidance for Halloween but could release advice closer to the time.

Some suggestions to help stop the spread of coronavirus include wearing masks when travelling from house-to-house and residents who hand out sweets should consider whether they want to leave treats outside of their house rather than having children knock on their doors.

Giving out individually wrapped sweets could also help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading, rather than leaving unwrapped sweets in a bucket.

Test Valley community leaders also had their say on the spooky season, with one councillor stressing children deserve "a sense of normality" after months of cancelled events.

Deputy leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said: "Things are moving very quickly and we don't know what the situation will be like in a couple of weeks, but I think it is best if people follow the Government's advice as best they can and stick to their neighbourhoods for Halloween.

"We want to give children a sense of normality and I think it is important they can do something."

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents the Romsey Cupernham ward, said: "I think this is a time for giving, not taking, and people are making a big deal out of missing out on things.

"Part of me says some people are putting themselves and their children at risk just for the sake of this year and I think it would be better if we continued to drive the virus down so everybody can have a really happy Christmas."