Cumbria needs to carry on following Government recommendations, to ensure rates continue to stabilise and hopefully lead to a further decline in coronavirus cases.

That is the message from Colin Cox, director of public health, following the news Cumbria has been placed under tier two restrictions.

“I really want to see us coming down as low as possible before Christmas so that when people start getting together over Christmas, they do so as safely as possible,” said Mr Cox.

Across the county cases things are going well, he continued.

“Things have been falling for a fortnight,” said Mr Cox. “Carlisle is one area though where it is particularly important that people are conscious of this and take things very seriously.

“A chunk of this has been about a single outbreak at Richard Rose Central Academy, in Carlisle, but the thing about that outbreak is people come from all over to go to that school and they go back to their families and see friends outside of school.

“This is where it is much more difficult to contain that outbreak, and that is why in Carlisle the numbers have stayed high.

“I think Carlisle has probably avoided tier three by the skin of its teeth.”

The prime minister warned that “more regions will fall at least temporarily into higher levels than before” and that the system will last until March.

However Boris Johnson has promised to review the tiers on December 16.

Differences between the tiers include limits on where households can meet up - for instance, in the new tier one, the rule of six applies indoors and out.

In tier two, the rule of six remains outdoors but there is no household mixing indoors.

Gyms and close-contact beauty services like hairdressers will be able to open in all tiers.

Pubs and restaurants in tier two can only open to serve “substantial meals”, while those in tier three can only operate as a takeaway or delivery service.

The system will be regularly reviewed and an area’s tier level may change before Christmas.

MP for Carlisle John Stevenson welcomed the news and said he was not surprised: “It is not much of a surprise, I anticipated we would go into tier two.

“We need to keep vigilant so we can move to tier one sooner rather than later.

“The fact it is county-wide is fine at this stage, but if different parts of the county improve or worsen then I think there should be flexibility in the tier system.

“My advice is to continue to follow the rules and be vigilant, because what we don’t want is to see a spike in the numbers.

“We all have to take individual responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

An area could be moved up a tier if these indicators are not improving, and likewise down to a lower one if they improve.