A "MAJOR incident" has been declared in North Yorkshire after a "worrying rise" in coronavirus cases in areas across the county.

The North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), which includes the emergency services, local authorities and the NHS, has announced the reinstatement of its "full emergency mode."

Cases have more than quadrupled over the last fortnight in the county, according to the forum.

Officials in North Yorkshire are "concerned" about the rising number of cases, particularly in the Selby and Harrogate districts, as well as parts of Scarborough and Craven, NYLRF said.

There is also concern about growing evidence of increased community transmission, particularly in the Whitby, Sherburn-in-Elmet and Crosshills/Sutton-in-Craven areas, the forum added.

In addition, it said that officials are worried about the increases in infections among care home staff and residents, and also testing capacity.

The forum has issued a "stark warning", saying everyone in North Yorkshire must act now to save lives, protect jobs and the economy and ensure schools can stay open.

Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council and chair of NYLRF, commented: “In North Yorkshire we have remained at a high level of alert since lockdown eased and we have monitored and managed outbreaks where they have happened very successfully with Test and Trace.

“However, we are seeing community transmission of the virus now and a worrying rise in cases in a number of areas. We know how quickly infection rates can change and we are calling on the whole county to act now with us in response.

“Please show extra restraint and caution and to take additional actions above and beyond those required nationally to help us try to avoid another lockdown here.”

In response to concerns, the NYLRF said partners have moved into major incident response mode. Actions taken include directing local testing facilities towards areas of greatest need, stepping up support to care homes and other care services and starting to prepare for reintroducing restrictions to visits to care homes in the Scarborough and Selby areas.

In the whole of the Scarborough and Selby districts, people are asked to use face coverings when leaving home while circulating infection levels are increasing.