CORONAVIRUS cases are on the rise in Barrow in part because 'people are failing to self-isolate', health bosses have warned.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public health, has this week urged Furness residents to adhere to new Covid restrictions issued by the local authority and Number 10.

In an attempt to limit the further transmission rates of the virus across south Cumbria, the county council last week requested Furness residents limit their social interactions, within the framework of the Government's new 'rule of six' restriction, to just two households.

During the past seven days it has been estimated that the rate of infections in Barrow is at 55 per 100,000, with more than 30 positive cases in and around the town in the last week.

Three schools in the area have had to take action as a result, while pubs and takeaways have been forced to close their doors for fear of spreading the virus.

Mr Cox said public health teams were aware of residents flouting instructions to self-isolate ‘both locally and nationally’.

He acknowledged the new rules could be difficult to observe, but said it was essential that residents self-isolate when instructed to, so they not only protect themselves - but also their families, friends, colleagues and the wider community.

Commenting yesterday, he said: “I know it’s hard - but only way we’ll stop this is by limiting social contact, wherever possible.”

His plea to Barrovians follows the weekend announcement that police forces will now be able to enforce self-isolation rules for those who come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19.

“We and the police have always sought to tackle this virus through consent and public participation,” Mr Cox said.

“We’ve introduced this advice to people over the next two weeks or so. We’ll review it after that.

“The general principle we really need to get across is Covid is spreading.

"In Barrow, it’s going up particularly quickly.

“The way to stop that is to reduce physical distancing and social contact.”

Asked if testing levels in Barrow had contributed to the high infection rates of the past week, Mr Cox said: “The testing situation is largely the same in Barrow as most other parts of the country.

“So, if cases are going up in Barrow and not in Carlisle, it tells us something different is happening there.”

He also told residents to take figures on the Covid-19 symptoms tracker app with a ‘pinch of salt’. 

As of last Friday, the app pointed to there being more than 130 cases in Barrow alone.

He added: “The symptom tracker app involves people registering their symptoms - it has no data on positive tests whatsoever.

"It tries to extrapolate and estimate the number in the area based off the number of people who have entered their details and have displayed symptoms.”