Calls to upgrade part of Cumbria's Covid alert level

Credit: ITV News

Regional public health leaders are urging the Government to put part of Cumbria under a higher Covid alert level.

The whole of the county is currently graded as "medium risk" but there are calls from senior figures on the county's local resilience forum to grade Barrow in the "high risk" category.

The new measures coming into force will see all parts of England classified as at 'medium', 'high' or 'very high' risk level, in a bid to curb rising coronavirus cases and deaths.

Cumbria's Assistant Chief Constable told ITV Border that he was 'surprised' with the Government's decision.

Andy Slattery said: "We're quite surprised as a group of leaders, including the conservative MP and we all feel that we need an extra tools in the box to suppress the virus in Barrow. We have asked the Government for this.

"The key thing here is the local leaders, and public authorities all feel like the rising cases in Barrow is so significant that we need some extra measures to bring it under control."

The Prime Minister said the new levels had been brought in to "simplify" local coronavirus restrictions, with the Liverpool City Region the first area to be placed under the toughest measures.

Local leaders in Barrow asked the Government to impose new restrictions, as the coronavirus infection rate continues to accelerate and hospitalisations mount.

Following the news on Monday, Cumbria's Director of Public health, Colin Cox, tweeted: "Unless I've missed something (which is possible as I'm on leave!) It looks like the whole of Cumbria is "medium risk" despite us asking for Barrow to be "high risk". Don't know why.

Under the new arrangements:

  • The medium alert level will cover most of England and will consist of the current national measures, including the rule of six and the 10pm curfew.

  • The high alert level reflects interventions in many areas subject to local restrictions, preventing mixing between different households indoors.

  • The very high alert level will mean, at a minimum, the closure of pubs and bars and a ban on social mixing indoors and in private gardens.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Decisions are made in close consultation with local leaders and public health experts, informed by the latest evidence from the JBC and NHS Test and Trace, PHE and the Chief Medical Officer for England.

“We discuss measures with local Directors of Public Health and local authorities, constantly review the evidence and will take swift action where necessary."