CARLISLE recorded 30 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours as infections across the county continue to rise.

The latest official figures from the Government show that since the start of the pandemic the Carlisle local authority area has recorded a total of 1,072 confirmed cases.

The figure for the previous 24-hour period was 1,042.

In Barrow, the daily increase in case numbers was even more dramatic: the number of cases rose by 35, taking the total to 1,114.

Across Cumbria as a whole, the number of lab-confirmed infections now stands at 4,691.

Case numbers are rising in every local authority area in the county.

The number of Covid-19 patients ill enough to require hospital treatment is said to be 'very low' in north Cumbria.

But the NHS trust which runs Furness General Hospital in Barrow has seen a surge in deaths, with six lives claimed in the space of three days.

Regional leaders are continuing talks with the Government about a likely expansion of the strictest coronavirus restrictions to other parts of England where infection rates are surging.

Liverpool City Region remains the only area in the top-tier of restrictions, with pubs and bars not serving meals closed.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is to meet with high-level Government officials to discuss the situation there.

Meanwhile, the debate over calls for a so-called ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown nationally to stem the resurgence of Covid-19 rumbles on, with Labour Leader Keir Starmer calling for this in the wake of the Government’s own advisers saying that it was needed to prevent a “catastrophic” rise in Covid case numbers.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) called for a circuit-breaker lockdown three weeks ago, saying it could help prevent a "very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences".

Hospital doctors and public health experts have also backed the proposal.

But Boris Johnson, speaking in The Commons yesterday, said a regionalised approach – with restrictions tailored to local infection rates - made more sense and would avoid unnecessary damage to the UK’s already battered economy.

It made no sense to have a full lockdown in areas where infection rates are low, he said.

Experts have also highlighted the potential damage to mental and physical health that could ensue if the economic downturn is prolonged and deep.