Toughest coronavirus restrictions considered for parts of Yorkshire and the North East

Ministers are considering putting the toughest coronavirus restrictions on areas including parts of the North East, South and West Yorkshire, and Nottinghamshire.

Downing Street said discussions were under way on whether the areas should go into England’s highest COVID-19 alert level.

They could follow Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region – and potentially Greater Manchester too – on going into Tier 3.

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The suggestion was not dampened by Downing Street on Monday, as coronavirus infections rise once again in the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman revealed discussions about moving places out of the Tier 2 list were already going ahead with local politicians.

And one MP whose constituency could potentially be affected said he was “not that optimistic” they would escape fresh measures.

Barry Sheerman, who represents Huddersfield in the House of Commons, told YorkshireLive: “I hope against hope that we are not going to go into the third tier but I’m not that optimistic.

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“And I still think it’s inevitable that we have a circuit breaker over the half-term. I would rather that we have a short, sharp shock than not tackling it seriously.”

A pedestrian walks past a sign displaying a message to wear a face covering, outside Charing Cross station in central London on October 14, 2020, as the number of cases continue to rise during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic - Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said a new UK-wide lockdown would be a "disaster" but refused to rule it out as demands grew for a temporary shutdown to stop the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

York Central MP Rachel Maskell said several days ago: “I do not believe that the measures in Tier 2 will be sufficient to stop the spread of infections in our city.”

Nottingham currently has the highest two-week case rate in Britain, with 1,310 per 100,000 people.

A decision may not be made on Monday, as the government could be trying to begin conversations early to avoid a repeat of the standoff with Greater Manchester.

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There, local leaders have refused to consent on a move to Tier 3 until further financial support for workers and businesses that would be hit by the move has been promised by the government.

Ministers are keen to get their buy-in to increase the chance of compliance and increase effectiveness of the measures, but Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he was “not just going to roll over at the sight of a cheque”.

He said: “We’ve always said we’ll put people’s health first and we will do that, but health is about more than controlling the virus.”