CUMBRIA'S 12 Lake District mountain rescue teams have issued a heartfelt thank you to the many people who are staying away from fells as part of socially isolating.

By doing so, they are supporting NHS colleagues and mountain rescue volunteer teams, said a social media statement published on the Facebook page of Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team.

"Social distancing and limiting travel to essential journeys is key to stopping the virus from spreading," said the group.

"Taking exercise once a day is important to keep our bodies healthy but also keeping our spirits up.

"We are encouraging everyone to just be responsible.

"This means avoiding those higher risk activities such as mountaineering, rock climbing and hillwalking and similar activities that have the potential to result in mountain rescue incidents.

"Last weekend was extremely busy across Cumbria and resulted in four callouts, including a tragic fatality.

"Since Sunday it has been very quiet with no incidents in the past four days so these messages, as much as we don’t like hearing them, are helping the overall situation. It is helping to reduce the demands on our NHS colleagues and also keeping our volunteer rescuers safe, including many who are also front line NHS professionals and police officers.

"A casualty on the mountain may carry the virus without even knowing it.

"Our casualty carers do have to work in close contact with very basic personal protection and even the stretcher carry off the mountain brings risks. For a compromised rescue the whole team may also have to be self isolated for two weeks. Certain rescues, such as walkers becoming lost, could mean a reduced response or possibly asking walker to hunker down till the morning and walk off in better weather.

"However, feel rest assured that for life at risk, your local mountain rescue teams will always respond to the best of their ability on the fells and surrounding areas."