The communities in Carlisle and Eden have managed to avoid following the likes of Blackburn, Bradford and Greater Manchester into a resumption of tighter lockdown rules.

But to make sure those areas and the rest of Cumbria avoids following in the footsteps of these newly more locked down communities, the message is clear – stick to social distancing.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public health, explained that for the past several weeks, a consistent rise in new Covid-19 cases in the Carlisle then the Eden areas was a cause for serious concern.

These concerns were put into clearer context on Thursday night, as Greater Manchester, Burnley, Blackburn, Bradford and other towns across the north west were plunged back into tighter lockdown, by the health secretary Matt Hancock, given the severity of the rise in new cases.

Thankfully, the most recent figures for Carlisle and Eden show a fall in the number of new cases, indicating the concerning rise may have been curbed.

Mr Cox said these most recent figures left him “cautiously optimistic” that these areas were moving in the right direction.

“It is good news that the numbers in Carlisle and Eden have been coming down, but it’s very clear that there are still challenges in those areas, particularly around the night-time economy and people socialising, and perhaps letting some of the physical distancing slip,” he said.

“It’s really important that people do continue to follow those guidelines.

“Otherwise, there is a risk that we start to see things going back up again, and then we’re into the sorts of measures that we’re seeing in Blackburn and other places in the north of England.”

Mr Cox stressed that the situation in Cumbria is "very different" to what is currently going on in the now more restricted parts of the north west.

"There is, by a large margin, fewer new cases in Cumbria compared to the likes of Blackburn and Greater Manchester.

"It’s fairly significantly different at this point.

"But obviously we were on a rising trend, which is one of the reasons we were concerned last week."

The key message from Mr Cox was that there was one way for Cumbria to avoid following other parts of the north west into tighter lockdown: "stick to social distancing."

"The numbers are going in the right direction. But if they start going in the wrong direction, what we're seen in Greater Manchester and elsewhere is the sort of thing that could happen in Cumbria, or in parts of Cumbria.

"Obviously everybody wants to avoid that. We're working very hard to try to avoid that but we need the public to do their bit.

"We need to follow physical distancing guidelines. It really is that simple. This is starting to spread because primarily it is associated with social interaction.

"You need to make sure your social interaction is safely managed, and that means physical distancing. Please stick with it."

Mr Cox added that the most recent data for Carlisle and Eden seemed to indicate there was either a drop or at least a plateau in the number of new cases.

"I’m hoping that what we had was a bit of blip, and that people saw what was happening, particularly the call for everyone who was in the various pubs to go and get tested because we thought there wasn’t enough physical distancing going on.

"I hope that what’s happened is that people have realised that they do need to take this seriously, and that they are maybe starting to do so again.

"But like I say I’m cautiously optimistic - we could easily come back with higher numbers next week."