The chairman of the Lake District mountain rescue teams has urged hikers and climbers to tell the police if they may have coronavirus when requesting the help of mountain rescue volunteers.

Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Assocation, urged particular caution during the coronavirus outbreak period.

The association, made up of 12 Lake District mountain rescue teams and totalling more than 400 volunteers, is committed to continuing its round-the-clock mission to provide assistance to those in need on the Lake District's numerous fells.

But with many of the association's volunteers having day jobs in the healthcare sector, the association is keen to be as careful as possible when its volunteers come into contact with anyone who may have the Covid-19 virus.

"Our priority is resilience, making sure that as many of our trained volunteers are as available as possible for call outs," Mr Warren said.

"This means reducing face-to-face meetings and using online equivalents, and postponing all but essential training so that we reducethe chances of spread among our volunteers.
"We are acutely aware that many of our volunteers have day jobs that will be important in the coming weeks and months - especially doctors, paramedics and NHS staff so we must help them to stay well and focus on that work.

"The public can play an important role in helping us provide an effective service.

"If people require assistance but suspect they may have Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who has it then we would ask them, please, to tell the police this information as soon as they can when calling 999 for help from mountain
rescue. That way, teams can be prepared."

Mr Warren did stress that he encouraged those who can to take advantage of Cumbria's natural landscapes during the coronavirus outbreak.
"Being outdoors has many health benefits both mental and physical and we are
happy for individuals to take advantage of this where they can," he said.

"However, at the moment, we ask people not to take any unnecessary risks. If they are going to go out, they should walk, climb and cycle well within their capabilities so that they are more likely to stay safe."