ACTION taken to curb rising infection rates of Covid-19 in Barrow will help protect people across the county.

Cumbria's Director of Public Health Colin Cox said it's hoped the new advice for people living in the south Cumbrian town will help keep cases numbers across the rest of the county below the national average.

Cumbria County Council announced on Thursday that it "strongly advised" groups of six people should be limited to no more than two households for at least two weeks, when the situation will be reviewed.

Meanwhile, people living in parts of the north east had new lockdown restrictions imposed on them yesterday.

When asked what this means for people living in the north of the county, Mr Cox said: "The intention that it has is to bring the numbers down in Barrow. Across the rest of Cumbria the numbers are actually pretty good and the hope is that this keeps things that way for as long as possible.

"We are seeing the numbers going up across the country as a whole and Cumbria is now pretty much surrounded by areas that are in lockdown, so it's going to be really difficult to keep the numbers down, but that's the intention of what we're doing in Barrow.

"It is better that there are things happening in our neighbouring areas to try and keep things under control. I welcome that."

Mr Cox explained that while numbers are rising across Cumbria they remain "relatively low" compared to England as a whole.

The latest data, from the week ending September 11, showed that across Cumbria there 77 new cases, up 22 from the previous week.

The county's rate of infection was 15 cases per 100,000 per week, half the national rate for England.

In Carlisle, there were eight new positive cases and the area's infection rate was seven new cases per 100,000 - the lowest in Cumbria, along with Copeland, where there were five new confirmed cases.

Barrow, however, is bucking that trend, with 43 new cases per 100,000 - the highest rate of new cases in Cumbria for the second week in a row.

Until recently, infection rates in Barrow were low, with only eight cases in total in July and August, and two weeks at the end of August where there were no confirmed cases.

But since August 31 there have been new cases everyday.

Mr Cox said there is no single source of the rapid rise in infection. "This is not a single outbreak," said Mr Cox. "You can't pin it to a single workplace, a single venue, event or even a single part of the population. It is pretty widely spread and popping up in lots of different places.

"It was probably initially brought in from outside Barrow, from people socialising outside of barrow picking it up and coming back but then after that it just starts to spread a little bit more widely."

Mr Cox said the north east's lockdown restrictions won't affect people from Cumbria attending hospital appointments there but they will not be able to visit family and friends.

The new regulations, brought in to reduce the infection rate in the area, where the number of cases is the second highest in the country, after the north west - ban residents from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in homes and gardens and in all public venues.