Cumbria County Council has pleaded with the public to ensure they give the correct contact details when visiting pubs and restaurants.

The plea follows events last week where people who had visited a number of different pubs in Carlisle and Penrith were asked to get tested for COVID-19, after several positive cases were registered in the local area.

The council revealed that since last week over 1200 people have received a text message from the council advising them to get tested.

However it has emerged that around 15-20 per cent of the contact information provided by customers is wrong or unusable.

Issues included; no details or clearly false numbers, incorrect mobile phone numbers with too many or too few digits, illegible handwriting.

As part of the effort to stop the spread of the virus pubs and restaurants should be collecting contact details from customers to help local contact tracing work should it be needed.

Now the public are being asked to stop and double check the details they provide, and wherever possible provide a mobile phone number rather than a landline.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, said: “This information is absolutely vital to our efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Being able to contact people quickly and easily if they have potentially been exposed to someone who is infectious is hugely important.

“I know it is a bit of an inconvenience, but I urge people to provide their contact details when asked and make certain they are correct and readable. Almost one in five of the people we think may potentially have been exposed last week will not hear from us directly because of unusable information.

“It’s a simple thing to do, just double check your details.”

The council also reiterated the public health message to combat COVID-19:

•            Wash or sanitise hands regularly

•            Observe social distancing rules

•            Wear face masks or coverings in enclosed public spaces

•            If you have symptoms, self-isolate and get tested

•            Follow advice to self-isolate if asked