CORONAVIRUS cases in South Lakeland are stabilising and could be on the decline, according to health boss Colin Cox.

And the public health chief has expressed his surprise at the change.

He said: “Before I went on leave a couple of weeks ago I would have put money on South Lakeland going into tier 2 by the time I got back but it’s been on a declining trend.

“On October 6 the rates of infection in South Lakeland was at 156 per 100,000 population.”

South Lakeland currently has a rate of 130 cases per week per 100,000 population.

He said: “The rate has not changed a huge amount, but it was the fact that it was trending up and up and up.

“There was an exponential curve but it dropped and has since rose before stabilising again."

The change in direction of the trend could be attributed to people taking the rules seriously, he said.

South Lakeland is currently in Tier 1 restrictions - meaning people can still mix in households but not break the rule of six.

Mr Cox described the fact that people are now socialising less as the major thing that drives the control of the virus.

He said: “I would be speculating but it could be because of people taking the rules and measurements in place seriously when the cases do go up.”

The current level of 130 per 100,000 is comparative with the county’s average, although there are areas such as Barrow and Carlisle who are still much higher.

Tier levels are reviewed on a national level each week.

Government discussions took place between on Tuesday and yesterday, two weeks after Barrow was moved to tier 2.

Mr Cox is reassuring members of the public about plans for South Lakeland. He said: "We are not expecting South Lakeland to move into tier 2 at all.”

Cumbria Police have thanked those who have followed the rules and have done their part to reduce transmission.

Chief Inspector for South Cumbria, Gaynor Wardle, said: “We are thankful that the overwhelming majority of residents and businesses in South Cumbria have been understanding of the regulations, why they are necessary and the role police officers play in ensuring that they are enforced.”