Following the announcement and guidance introduced by the government earlier this week about social distancing, Cumbria Police are appealing to people and businesses to limit social contact to save lives.
Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery is the Constabulary lead for Coronavirus response and Chair of the Cumbria Local Resilience Forum that is responsible for the multi-agency response to civil emergencies.
He said: “This week the Government advised us to take some drastic steps to slow down the spread of Covid-19 which is having a major impact on our community both locally and nationally.
“We were asked to cut down on all unnecessary travel and socialising and follow “social distancing” guidance and not socialise in pubs, clubs, cinemas, theatres, restaurants etc. These are huge steps that impact on our lifestyle. No-one wants to avoid socialising with friends and family, but the reality is we have to.
“We must all take notice if we want to reduce the spread, and impact of this virus to help our colleagues in the NHS to be able to cope with an increase in demand for critical care. Our hospitals are already caring for critically ill patients.
“I am pleased to see that many people in Cumbria are following this guidance but we see that many people are simply carrying on as normal.
“I appeal to everyone in Cumbria to please stop unnecessary travel and unnecessary socialising because this is the only way we will reduce deaths. We all need to play our part, and do this now.
“Many in our community feel they may not be affected by the virus as they are young, or fit and healthy but the Chief Medical Officer has warned that this virus can be life-threatening to young people too.
“We cannot and should not take comfort from the fact that victims are mostly the elderly or chronically ill because they are all human lives and we owe it to those people to limit our activities now. Please think about those vulnerable people who are scared and alone as they seek to take shelter in their homes. Please do everything you can to support them.
“It is also disappointing to see that we’ve had an increase in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour, so please speak to your young people, let them know how serious the situation is and the importance for them to limit their socialising too. As young people are sent home from school, please ask them to stay at home and not, as we have found, congregate in groups in the towns across the county.
“We are one of the most sparsely populated counties so social distancing should be possible for all of us. If you are going out on the fells, rivers or coastline please stay within your limits and do not place additional burden on emergency services and the NHS through avoidable accidents.
“These measures will undoubtedly have a terrible impact on the local economy and we all hope that HM Government find ways to support our local industries but I would ask business owners to consider whether continuing to attract groups of people to come together is socially responsible.
“We are aware that a number of people are coming to the county and using their second homes or holiday homes to seek shelter away from more densely populated areas. This may place an additional burden on local services and I would ask those visitors to ensure that they practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus here in Cumbria.
“As the weekend approaches, I’d ask everyone to STOP and THINK whether their visits to the pub, restaurant or cinema are really worth it?
“We ALL need to limit our socialising and travelling now so that we can reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. That’s how serious this is.”