Cumbria’s health chief has asked visitors to take a Covid lateral flow test before entering the county following a sharp increase in cases in the region.

His advice comes as Covid-19 cases in the area rise, with an increased infection rate of 20 per cent from last week.

But despite the rise in cases Mr Cox said he was not concerned by the increase, as this was not translating into high rates of hospitalisation and said his request for visitors to test prior to entering the county was ‘precautionary’.

“There’s nothing currently going on that’s making me worried about tourism coming into Cumbria,” he said.

“But obviously the virus spreads with people and as people move around it can spread around.

“And so it’s a courtesy if you’re travelling to get tested before you travel and try not to spread it.

“And I would say the same to people from Cumbria going somewhere else, get tested before you go.

“It’s about minimising the transmission and having the courtesy and respect for the area you’re going to visit.”

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron, welcomed Mr Cox’s recommendation.

“I think it’s wise,” he said.

“Public Health England throughout this and the Cumbria team led by Colin Cox has been absolutely fantastic and I think asking people to get tested is incredibly wise.

“Lots of people are coming to the South Lakes, it’s one of the most popular locations in the UK and in the South Lakes we have a high percentage of elderly residents who although have been vaccinated are at a higher risk.

“So I would encourage people to get tested too.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, said: “With a favourable weather forecast, the Bank Holiday weekend promises to be a perfect opportunity for people to get out across Cumbria and enjoy all our county has to offer.

“Although the director for public health says the evidence appears to suggest that local outbreaks are driving infection rates in Cumbria, not tourism, we’re continuing to encourage all visitors to continue to follow the official advice and enjoy a safe and memorable experience.”