Coronavirus: West Yorkshire set for tough Tier 3 rules as swathes of England move to Tier 2

·2-min read

The whole of West Yorkshire - including Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield - will go into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, it has been announced.

The change comes into effect from 12:01am on Monday, Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake told Sky News.

Local leaders have been in talks with ministers about the move into England's highest band of measures for more than a week, to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Elsewhere, a host of other areas are due to move into Tier 2 from Saturday.

That includes Luton and Oxford; in the Midlands Derby, Dudley, Bolsover and Staffordshire; and further north, the East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston upon Hull and North Lincolnshire - as well as some other places.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier there is a "worrying rise in cases right across the country" so "decisive action is needed".

He continued: "These restrictions are challenging for us all, but it is only by working together and following the rules that we will bring down the rates of infection.

"A failure to act now will only lead to longer disruption and greater economic damage."

The government has not yet confirmed the Tier 3 move for West Yorkshire.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said on Wednesday the government was "unflinching in their resolve" to place the area into Tier 3, but denied it was a "stand-off".

Hospital admissions have been risen dramatically in the region recently, with NHS figures showing Yorkshire and the Humber has the fastest-growing COVID-19 rates in England.

Earlier this week, the trust that runs Leeds General Infirmary and St James's Hospital, also in Leeds, said only essential operations will take place after the number of coronavirus patients was higher than during the peak of the first wave.

Other hospitals, including Bradford Royal Infirmary, have reported similarly high figures, and the Nightingale hospital in Harrogate is one of only a few told to prepare to accept patients again.

The latest Public Health England (PHE) figures show Leeds had a rate of 422.9 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to 23 October.

England's overall rate is 224 cases per 100,000 people for that same period.

South Yorkshire went into Tier 3 last Saturday.

Labour called for a short lockdown known as a "circuit break" to coincide with half-term, following a similar call by the government's top scientific advisers known as SAGE at the end of September.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted those suggestions, saying his "local and regional approach" will "drive down the virus".

But Home Secretary Priti Patel refused on Thursday to rule out another national lockdown.

It comes as 23,065 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK, and a further 280 died.