DATA published today shows a steep drop in the number of new COVID-19 infections being reported.

There were 404 new cases in Cumbria compared to 858 the previous week, a decrease of 53 per cent. All Cumbria’s districts now have infection rates below the England average.

Cumbria’s Director of Public Health Colin Cox has welcomed the news while stressing that continued action will be needed to keep numbers dropping.

The drop comes as the county this week moves into new Tier 2 High Alert COVID-19 restrictions.

The new Tier 2 restrictions include:

• No mixing with other households indoors, apart from support bubbles

• A limit of six on groups meeting outdoors

• Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants

• Guidance to limit unnecessary journeys and avoid travel into Tier 3 areas

Full details of the new restrictions can be found on GOV.UK.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’ Director of Public Health, said: “This reduction in new infections is very welcome news and shows quite clearly that in Cumbria the lockdown measures achieved their main aim of significantly slowing the spread of the virus.

“But it’s important to realise that the infection rate is still very much higher than it was at the end of the Summer. Back then, within two months we were into a second lockdown.

"So, we are definitely not out of the woods yet and the new Tier 2 restrictions are necessary if we want to bring the rate down even lower and have a chance of having restrictions eased in future.

"We can get there, but everyone needs to do their bit and stick to the guidance.”