Covid: Cumbria in Tier 4 as country told to stay home for New Year's Eve

Credit: PA

The tightest coronavirus restrictions are now force across Cumbria, following a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in parts of the county.

The Tier 4 measures mean Cumbria is effectively in lockdown, with non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms among the businesses that will be forced to close.

Cumbria's Director of Public Health told ITV Border that the reason for the tier change is because of the new strain of coronavirus, which he said is 'spreading like wildfire' across the county.

Colin Cox said: “The rate of spread as a result of the new strain is exceptionally quick and this is why decisive and immediate action is required.

"As a result of the spike in numbers hospitals across the country remain under intense pressure and it is simply not sustainable for numbers in hospital to remain at these levels so it’s vital that action is taken now to try and reduce the spread."

He continued: "Tier 4 is not dissimilar to the first lockdown where people must stay at home and only travel for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.

“I would also encourage people to remain vigilant and follow the rules. Keep doing the simple things that really do make a difference - maintain social distancing, wear face coverings and wash your hands.”

Matt Hancock made the announcement in the Commons that large parts of England would be moved into Tier 4 Credit: PA

Three quarters of the country will be in Tier 3 or Tier 4 by Thursday morning. The move is part of the Government's attempt to control the spread of the disease. The Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said "decisive, early action" is needed to avoid a "catastrophe" in the new year.

Addressing MPs in the Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "The NHS is under very significant pressure... and we can see the impact this is happening, the threat to life is real."

He added: "The new variant means that three quarters of the population are now going to be in Tier 4 and almost all of the country in Tiers 3 and 4.

"And I know that Tier 3 and 4 measures place a significant burden on people, and especially on businesses affected, but I am afraid it is absolutely necessary because of the number of cases that we’ve seen.

"But where we are still able to give places greater freedoms, we will continue to do so."

What are the main rules if I'm in a Tier 4 area?

People must stay at home, similar to the March and November lockdowns, except for where you have a specific purpose, or a ‘reasonable excuse', such as buying food or medicine, or to collect any items from a click-and-collect service.

You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble.

You can meet one other person from another household in a public, outdoor space. People can go outdoors for unlimited exercise.