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New rules for Barrow as area confirmed ‘high-risk’ for COVID-19

Following an announcement by the Secretary of State Matt Hancock this morning, the Barrow Borough Council area has been moved from medium to high-risk on the national COVID-19 risk rating system.

The change means that is now illegal to meet indoors with people outside of your own household or bubble. Outdoors the ‘Rule of Six’ remains unchanged. The new restrictions will be reviewed after 14 days.

The announcement follows a request from the county’s Area Outbreak Board last week for additional restrictions to be imposed due to the rapidly increasing rate of infection in the area. The latest infection rate data shows Barrow with 292 cases per 100,000 (compared to an England average of 160).

Full details of the new restrictions can be found at GOV.UK/coronavirus

Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council and Chair of the Area Outbreak Board, said: “This is the right decision and ideally would have come sooner. The infection rate in Barrow is continuing to rise and it is so important that people follow the new rules which are coming into force. There is an opportunity now to get a grip on the spread of the virus, if we do not then we’ll no doubt see a further increase in the risk level and even more restrictive local lockdown measures. I’d urge everyone to take steps to protect themselves, their families and the community.”

Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “The number of infections has continued to grow across Barrow since the request for action from the government was made last week.

“We are in an extremely concerning situation. Coronavirus is a deadly virus and lives are at stake.

“It’s crucial that every one of us follows the rules to limit its spread and to protect our loved ones, families, friends, neighbours and communities.”

Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, said: “The number of cases of Coronavirus in Barrow continues to risk so it is right to take action now. Let’s pull together over these next few weeks to get the numbers down, protect Furness General and ensure that those who are most vulnerable, in care homes, at home, and in our wider community, are kept safe.”

A public communications campaign will now be launched to ensure awareness of the new rules.

Matt Saunders, Consultant in Public Health at Cumbria County Council, said: “If everyone follows the new rules it can make a difference, preventing further disruption, illness and deaths. But we all have to act now and take responsible and sensible steps to reduce the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19. The new rules are very clear, but generally any steps people can take to limit their social contact and mixing with others, alongside wearing masks in enclosed public spaces, and outdoors if it’s busy, and washing hands regularly will have an impact.”

Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery said: “With the elevation of the Barrow area into Tier 2 status, a number of different restrictions will come into place. We ask everybody to familiarise themselves with these new measures and make sure that they adhere to them.

“Police officers have an important role in ensuring that people comply with the restrictions in order that they can take effect and reduce the number of people suffering from Covid-19. The community in Barrow have been fantastic throughout this difficult year and we hope that we do not have to issue any fixed penalty tickets.

“However, anybody deliberately breaking the regulations can expect to receive a fixed penalty fine. Please help us to suppress the virus now and prevent any further restrictions coming into place.”

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