Cumbria Tourism has added its voice to those urging visitors to stay away from the county to halt the spread of coronavirus.

At the weekend thousands of people descended on Lake District hotspots including Ambleside, Bowness and Keswick, prompting Lake District National Park boss Richard Leafe to urge them to stay away during the pandemic.

The Lake District Mountain Rescue Association, police and local politicians have also told people to stop visiting.

Jim Walker, chair of Cumbria Tourism, has reinforced calls for would-be visitors to stay at home.

He said: “Last night the Prime Minister issued strict new instructions for us all, to protect the NHS and to help save lives in this time of national emergency.

"All visitors, second home-owners and holiday park caravan owners are very clearly being told to stay at home in their primary residence and we urge people to do just that. "We now also need anyone who is here already to return home.

“Visitors, tourism businesses and residents must take responsibility for themselves and their wider communities.

"We cannot stress how vitally important this is for Cumbria and its ‘super-ageing’ population, not only to limit the spread of the virus but also to safeguard local health services and infrastructure, which may well come under immense pressure just servicing those local residents’ needs."

Cumbria Tourism was doing its best to try and support businesses during the crisis, he said.

"Our phone lines continue to be open and we are responding to queries as quickly as possible," he said.

"This is a situation no-one could have anticipated, but we are continuing to lobby the Government for further practical and immediate financial support to help our industry through this critical time.

"We are also asking tourism operators to keep completing our Business Impact Survey, so we can share evidence of their first-hand experiences with high-level decision-makers.”

To fill out the business impact survey go to Cumbria Tourism's website.