A CUMBRIAN health chief has welcomed data that shows lockdown measures could have reduced covid-19 infection rates by nearly a third.

Colin Cox, the county's director of public health, said it was "really positive" to see the figure's in the Department of Health's & Social Care's November REACT-1 Study, published yesterday.

It looked at the swab tests of 105,123 people between November 13 and 24.

It concluded that national infection rates fell from 130 per 100,000 people, in a previous study between October 26 and November 2, to 96 - a 26 per cent reduction.

It also showed a decrease of the reproduction rate, known as the 'r' rate, the figure which shows how fast covid-19 was spreading among the population.

Anything below 1 - the figure which means every person with the coronavirus infected another - indicates the infection rate was shrinking.

The rate is lower in the north west than the national average, 0.76 and 0.88 respectively.

According to the study: "There was a decline of prevalence across all regions which was most evident in the North West and North East, where prevalence was reduced by over 50 per cent.

"In contrast there was little change in prevalence between rounds in east and west midlands and London.

The monthly report also added: "The estimate of prevalence suggests an increase into the start of the second lockdown followed by a decrease.

Mr Cox, in a statement yesterday, said: “It’s really positive to see the reduction in new covid-19 cases.

"It shows that lockdown can be effective in slowing the spread of the virus and that’s what was needed.

"But I’m very conscious of the impact lockdown restrictions have on people’s lives and livelihoods and I hope that it will not be required again.

"If we are going to manage that, it means people remaining cautious and taking sensible steps to limit the risk of spreading infection.

"This is especially the case over the Christmas period when restrictions will be temporarily relaxed.

"Where possible avoiding busy indoor spaces, keeping your distance from other people, wearing a face covering, washing hands.

"All these things make a genuine difference.”