SOUTH Lakes MP Tim Farron has made an emotional plea to tourists not to visit the Lake District to protect people from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

It comes after reports from the police of numerous large gatherings in Lake District tourist hotspots at the weekend.

Last week, the former Liberal Democrat leader entered self-isolation, after a family member displayed COVID-19 symptoms.

Following the weekend's reports, Mr Farron said: “I’m the greatest advocate of people coming to visit our stunning part of the world. So it shows the seriousness of the situation that I feel the urge to say to visitors, who contribute so much to our local economy, to stay at home.

“Some of the images that have been shared on social media this weekend of large gatherings in places like Bowness bay and Devil’s Bridge in Kirkby Lonsdale are hugely alarming.

“To anyone thinking about going for a holiday in Cumbria during this outbreak I would say this: the Lake District will still be here after Coronavirus has gone, but if you choose to ignore the advice then sadly your loved ones might not be.

“Don’t put lives at risk – please stay at home.”