A HEALTH boss has said the next fortnight is the key to understanding the new variant and whether it will cause a delay to the June 21 lockdown easing.

New Covid-19 cases in Cumbria remained low in week ending May 28 with just 40 new cases recorded, compared to 39 in the previous week.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, spoke about the recent news that Tuesday marked the first day with no Covid deaths since the start of the pandemic.

"We will see a long tale of potential low levels of deaths happening now and we have certainly been seeing that in Cumbria for a month or so now," he said.

"It is really positive to get to that milestone across the whole country now.

“Thankfully, Covid infections in Cumbria remain very low, which is fantastic. However, there’s still more than a week to go before the government decides whether to ease lockdown further.

“If we want to see restrictions relaxed on 21 June, we must keep case rates low by continuing to follow national guidance, accepting our vaccines when they’re offered to us and simply remaining cautious.

“We have seen other parts of the North West experiencing increased cases of the Delta variant (formally known as the ‘Indian variant’).

URGE: Colin Cox urges people to get injected against Covid-19

URGE: Colin Cox urges people to get injected against Covid-19

"There are still many unknowns about this variant in terms of how it spreads and how effective our vaccines are, so it really is important that we don’t let it get a foothold in the county.

"The key thing that would stop the June 21 easing from happening is if the delta variant did start taking off elsewhere and that is a major point of concern for the Government in their tests to see if they will ease the lockdown further.

"One of those is the likely impact of the NHS with transmissions and at the moment that is looking very contained, another is the uptake in vaccination, which again is looking very positive.

"The other thing is whether there are any areas of concern that could cause issue down the line."

Whether there is a rise of cases over the next two weeks is the key to making sure there is no delay in lockdown easing, so Mr Cox has urged all Cumbrian residents to do their part and help keep cases and transmissions low.

Cumbria County Council offered this advice to residents:

• Meet outside

• Take the vaccine when you are offered it

• Remember that some people are more vulnerable than others

• Minimise how many people you're in close contact with, and for how long

• Take a symptom-free Covid-19 lateral flow test twice a week as a precaution

• Continue to wash your hands regularly.

• Make space for other people to maintain social distance if they want to

• Self isolate if you have a positive Covid test