A South Cumbria district council has been added to a national watchlist for areas experiencing some of the highest rates of Covid-19 infections in the UK.

Barrow was added to the expanding 'areas of concern' list this morning, as confirmed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Furness is currently reporting infection levels considerably higher than those of neighbouring Cumbrian district councils. Its per capita rate of cases is just below 100. 

By contrast, the national average is 28 cases per 100,000 residents.

Barrow borough is the only local authority area within the county to be included in the national watchlist at present, among several dozen other district council zones.

Eden had previously been identified as an 'area of concern' earlier this year. But it was taken off the list at the beginning of summer, as the UK began to exit the springtime lockdown period.

Cumbria's public health director, Colin Cox, has confirmed the announcement will not translate directly into any fresh restrictions for Furness residents.

"For now, this basically just means Public Health England the Joint Biosecurity Centre will be keeping a much closer eye on Barrow going forward," he explained this afternoon.