Major incident declared in North Yorkshire as coronavirus cases surge

Ten more coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Harrogate in the last 24 hours after a major incident was declared in North Yorkshire due to a sharp rise in infections.

The North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF) last night announced it was reinstating "full emergency mode" and warned urgent action was needed if local lockdowns were to be avoided.

The body - which is made up of officials from the police and local authorities - said the Harrogate, Scarborough, Selby and Craven districts were of particular concern.

NYLRF chairman Richard Flinton said last night that the situation in these areas of the county was "worrying".

He said:

Your response to the 'asks' we put to you will be critical. Only your actions - the choices each and every one of you make in the days and weeks ahead - will turn the tide in the areas where we are seeing worrying positive cases rise and help protect those where we are not. To be clear, we cannot do this without your support.

NYLRF chairman Richard Flinton

The ten new cases in Harrogate brings the district's total since the start of the pandemic to 888.

It comes after Harrogate's infection rate per 100,000 people dropped from 39.2 cases (week to 7 September) to 30 (week to 12 September).

Concerns about infections in care homes and testing capacity have also been raised by the NYLRF.

It said it was "stepping up support" for care homes, with some being told to reintroduce visitor restrictions.

Other measures include dedicated police patrols targeting those breaking social distancing rules.

Mr Flinton added: "As I mentioned last week, the rise in positive tests in the Selby and Harrogate areas, as well as Scarborough, were being carefully monitored.

"We have watched these extremely carefully and examined the data daily and over the past week. I am sorry to say that positive tests in Harrogate remain a worry, but of particular concern is the rapid increase in Selby and Scarborough, specifically Whitby. Like you, we are extremely keen to avoid enforced lockdowns if that is possible.

We desperately want our children to be able to attend school and other education settings so everything we ask, or action we take, will look to preserve their learning. It's so important for their future prospects and for their mental health.

NYLRF chairman Richard Flinton