A SENIOR police officer has urged people to comply with Covid restrictions over Christmas but said authorities would not ‘knocking on doors’ to enforce the rules.

Cumbria’s Assistant Chief Constable Andy Slattery stressed the importance of following the rules in the face of the new, more infectious strain of coronavirus.

Under the latest restrictions, people in Cumbria will be allowed to join a bubble of up to three households on Christmas Day.

Existing Tier 2 restrictions prohibit Cumbrians from meeting other households indoors.

And ACC Slattery emphasised the seriousness of being ‘extra cautious’ and complying with the restrictions saying the situation was more serious than ever.

He said: “Please make sure you are aware of regulations.

“The exception applies to Christmas Day and Christmas Day alone.

“You can’t stay overnight at all - beyond that you must stay in your household for duration. “We aren’t going to be knocking on doors. But please think about why these rules have been brought in by the Government.”

He offered advice to people, urging them to remain vigilant after complying with restrictions for several months.

“What I would say is people need to be extra cautious over the Christmas period,” he said.

“The new variant is a lot more infectious.

“It’s much easier to catch - be very careful around people.

“There are basic preventative measures - meet as few people as possible in a well ventilated room for as little time as possible.

“There is a high risk of the virus spreading through the Christmas period.”

Mr Slattery, who also heads Cumbria’s Local Resilience Forum and has been leading the county’s response to the virus, added: “We’re all tired with the restriction and police don’t enjoy enforcing this.

“It’s as serious as it’s ever been.

“If the virus is more infectious, rate of infections could be faster than at any point in 2020. That’s why the Government has brought this in.

“No matter how weary, how tired they are now, people need to know it’s not time to let up.”

Cumbria’s director of public health Colin Cox confirmed on Sunday that the new variant of Covid-19 has hit the county.

It is believed the mutated virus spreads faster but will be no more harmful than before.

The World Health Organisation said its Evolution Working Group is working closely with the UK medical authorities to understand how the variant, now called B.1.1.7, is likely to affect the course of the pandemic.