'DO not suffer in silence': that is the new message from local leaders a day before Oxfordshire and the rest of the country enter a second lockdown.

The appeal to residents in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse comes as all non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and leisure facilities are due to shut tomorrow under the new guidelines announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday.

People will only be allowed to leave their home for essential activities as part of strict measures, introduced in the face of the worsening pandemic, which are set to last until December 2 – although some ministers have suggested it could be extended if the virus is not brought under control.

Read also: Huge boa constrictor on the loose in Oxford

The decision was backed by leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, Sue Cooper, who had been pressing for Oxfordshire to be placed in Tier 2 for the last two weeks – despite pushback from some local MPs.

Commenting on the effects of the new Government restrictions, she urged people and businesses to seek help if they need it.

The Liberal Democrat councillor said: "We already have an incredible support network in place to provide the support people need in the coming weeks.

"Please do everything you can to follow the guidelines and help save lives.

"If you are a resident in need, or a business worried about what is to come, get in touch and we will do what we can to help."

Read also: Third Covid death in a week at Oxfordshire hospitals

Ms Cooper also did not rule out the possibility that the one-month lockdown could indeed be extended if the Government does not curb the number of infections.

She added: "It seems somewhat daft for places like Cornwall, which have hardly any Covid-19 incidents, but the Government wants simplicity for the country."

According to Public Health England, as of 9am on Monday, there were 17 new Covid-19 cases in South Oxfordshire in the previous week, and eight in Vale of White Horse.

As Vale of White Horse District Council prepares to enter lockdown, district leader Emily Smith also pledged to support communities and urged people to seek help if they need it.

The Lib Dem said: "We have shown before that we can work together to help each other through a difficult time, and that is going to be needed more than ever as we go into winter.

"We are here to do everything we can for our most vulnerable residents and our businesses."

Read also: Latest food hygiene results for Oxfordshire

Local leaders agreed that the new measures would be tough on residents and businesses across Oxfordshire, which is why it was so important to make sure they are effective.

The second lockdown will nonetheless have a number of negative impacts, despite the 'significant economic support' the Government is putting in place again, according to Wantage MP David Johnston.

In a statement published yesterday, the Conservative MP commented: "I realise that case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths remain low in a number of areas of the county and even lower in other areas of the country.

"I was pleased that the county of Oxfordshire, barring Oxford City, had remained in Tier 1 on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and Joint Biosecurity Centre."

Both South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils' websites include details of a range of Covid-19 support, from financial assistance to mental health help.

They can be reached at www.southoxon.gov.uk/covid19 and www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covid19