A legal duty to self isolate comes into force today, in order to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The measure was announced this morning by the UK Government and requires the public to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19 or are contacted by NHS Track and Trace.

Those who ignore the instruction to self-isolate face a fine of £1,000, increasing to £10,000 for repeat offenders.

Cumbria Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable, and Chair of Cumbria’s Strategic Co-ordinating Group, Andrew Slattery, said: “From today, ignoring an instruction to self-isolate is against the law.

“The financial penalty for those who ignore such an instruction is high but reflects the seriousness of the offence. Those who leave their self-isolation whilst infectious put the lives of other people in their community at risk.

“It is an unacceptable act, particularly at a time when the number of infections is rising rapidly.

“Whilst I am confident Cumbrian people know what is at stake and will abide by an instruction to self-isolate, I ask everyone to take personal responsibility for doing whatever they can to limit the spread of the virus.”

The public are being reminded to limit social interactions, maintaining social distancing, working from home when possible and wearing a mask when in indoor settings.

The public are also asked to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly.

At the weekend, Cumbria did not see scenes publicised in cities elsewhere of large numbers of people congregating outside bars and pubs at 10pm.

Assistant Chief Constable Slattery is calling on people to continue to act responsibly and sensibly.

He said: “We were pleased to see that, other than a small number of isolated incidents, the vast majority of people complied with the new restrictions this weekend and the pictures seen elsewhere of masses of people congregating from 10pm in the streets was not replicated here in Cumbria.

“We did receive a small number of calls to house parties in the county but, on each occasion, the people in attendance had either dispersed prior to our arrival or swiftly upon our arrival.

“I am very grateful for the way the vast majority of licensees have complied with the new regulations and closed on time. We are concerned about the potential for gatherings on the street at 10pm and will continue to monitor this and respond where required.”