Yet more calls have been made for visitors to stay away from the Lake District in a desperate bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) boss Richard Leafe and The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association both added their voices to calls already made by police chiefs and politicians urging tourists to stay away during the pandemic.

The LDNPA has shut visitors centre and car parks (the latter except for local emergency use) and erected signs urging people to respect farmers and landowners’ properties during social distancing and isolation periods as part of its bid to stem the number of people venturing into the park.

The action comes after thousands descended on tourist hotspots, in particular Ambleside, Bowness and Keswick, over the weekend, with attractions that remained open reporting an “influx” of visitors.

LDNPA chief executive Mr Leafe, said: “These are unprecedented times, and I never thought I’d encourage people to stay away from the Lake District.

“The Government has made it very clear that all non-essential travel shouldn't happen, so we are asking people not to come to the Lake District on the basis of that advice.

"Please remember the limited resources that support our local communities, businesses, farmers, police and rescue services are all under pressure at the moment.”

The message was reinforced by the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, which said it was “deeply concerned” about the number of people travelling to Cumbria, putting “local people, team members and other emergency services workers at increased risk”.

A spokesman said: “For over sixty years we have supported you to enjoy the mountains in every weather. For the foreseeable future we simply need you to return the favour – please do not come to the mountains. 

"We’ve always been there for you. However, we find ourselves in a unique situation and needing to focus on our families and our work right now.

"We must also fully support our NHS colleagues who are under pressure already – many of whom are team members in the Lakes."

"We accept that some of you may consider this to be an over-reaction. It is not.”

A Cockermouth Mountain Rescue spokesman echoed the sentiment, adding: “Please act responsibly to minimise the effect of coronavirus on mountain rescue teams, and as importantly, on the rural communities across the UK that we represent.”

Elsewhere, Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has also made an emotional plea for tourists to stay away from the Lake District.

Mr Farron – who entered self-isolation last week after a family member displayed covid-19 symptoms – 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.

“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.”

The first calls for tourists to stay away were made by assistant chief constable of Cumbria Police, Andrew Slattery, who said people ignoring Government advice to avoid non-essential travel and social distancing guidelines risked pushing the county’s health service to “breaking point”.