Watford’s Mayor has thanked residents for their efforts in bringing down the town’s coronavirus infection rate.

The borough’s week-on-week infection rate has dropped significantly since the start of England’s third national lockdown, when the rate was around 1,000 cases per 100,000 population.

But the most recent figure is much, much lower, with the latest data showing the town had a rate of 95.3 cases per 100,000 population in the seven days to February 25.

This is even lower than what it was in the week before England left the November lockdown, data shows, when the town had an infection rate of 165.7.

But while the figures are promising, Mayor Peter Taylor is urging people to remain careful about the actions they take in the following weeks and months as we emerge from the pandemic.

Mr Taylor said: “I am so grateful to everyone in Watford for all their hard work and sacrifices over the last few months. It continues to be a difficult time for everyone in our community, not least the incredible NHS staff who have been working around the clock caring for patients in hospitals, testing residents and administering vaccines.

“It is vital that we all remember that having the vaccine doesn’t mean you can’t catch and spread the virus. Even if you have received your vaccine you must continue to be careful, following the guidelines to stop the spread to others. 

“We are all hoping for a brighter summer, with restrictions lifting and our lives returning to normal. To ensure this can become a reality, we all need to remain vigilant and continue to take this virus very seriously.

“We are all beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we now have to make sure our standards don’t slip in the next few months so we can get to where we want to be.”

He added: “Restrictions will only be lifted if we keep following the guidelines and our infection rates continue to drop as a result.

“Maintaining social distancing, limiting your contact with others and wearing a mask remain essential to limit the spread. It is only by limiting the number of new cases that we can then reduce the likelihood of new variants and the threat they bring. ”

Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown will begin with the reopening of schools on March 8.

A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.

The other points when restrictions may be eased at the earliest are:

– April 12, when shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens may reopen.

– May 17, when two households or groups of up to six people may be allowed to mix indoors and crowds of up to 10,000 in the largest venues will be allowed at performances and sporting events.

– “As soon as possible” and no later than step three, when ministers committed to reviewing social-distancing guidance that has prevented loved ones from hugging for nearly a year.

– June 21, when all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead and nightclubs could finally reopen.