West Yorkshire is set to join Tier 3 but with coronavirus cases rising across England it’s only a matter of time before more areas enter the highest level of restrictions.
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said on Thursday West Yoroskhire would enter Tier 3 on Monday.
The area has seen a sharp increase in the number of hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients.
The latest figures from the government show there were 126,065 new recorded cases of coronavirus in England last week, the highest number who have entered the test and trace system so far.
The government is resisting calls for a national lockdown and has committed to sticking to its regional lockdown strategy.
On Thursday, the government announced large swathes of the North and Midlands would be raised from Tier 1 to 2 to combat a rise in infections.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We continue to see a worrying rise in cases right across the country, and it is clear decisive action is needed.”
Watch: Nottingham prepares for highest band of COVID-19 restrictions
There are also ongoing discussions over more areas moving into Tier 3, but where will be next?
What is Tier 3?
Tier 3 is currently the highest level of restrictions in England which imposes significant restrictions on daily life.
Households must not mix indoors or in private gardens and people may only meet in groups of up to six in public outdoor settings like a park.
Pubs and bars which don’t serve meals must close.
People are advised not to leave the area and generally stay at home as much as possible.
Where is currently under Tier 3?
The first area to enter Tier 3 restrictions was the Liverpool City Region on 14 October, which was joined by Lancashire on 17 October.
Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire has the highest rate of coronavirus per 100,000 in England with 785 and has been subject to enhanced restrictions ever since the whole country left lockdown.
Greater Manchester joined a week later on 23 October after a long negotiation period, which saw local leaders and the government unable to reach an agreement.
Boris Johnson put the whole area under lockdown without the support of local leaders after the two sides were unwilling to budge over their positions, despite them being only £5m apart.
The next day the Sheffield City Region which encompasses all of the councils in South Yorkshire entered Tier 3 after the government reached an agreement with local leaders.
This region has seen some of the most concerning rises in infection levels with corresponding surges in hospital admissions, causing the cancellation of some elective surgeries.
On 27 October, Warrington was raised to Tier 3, although the rest of Cheshire currently remains under Tier 2.
Where will be joining Tier 3?
Nottinghamshire will move into Tier 3 on Friday after an agreement with the government.
The city of Nottingham has regularly appeared right at the top of England’s infections rates per 100,000, although it has dropped down in recent days.
People living in Nottingham, Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe were the first to be told they were being moved to the highest level.
Watch: Protests mount against Tier 3 measures
But the government later announced the whole of the county would be in Tier 3 from Friday.
West Yorkshire will enter Tier 3 restrictions on Monday.
Julian Hartley, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, told the virtual press conference the city’s hospitals were currently caring for 268 Covid patients – a figure higher than in the first wave of the pandemic – and he expected this to keep rising for some days.
Negotiations are known to ongoing with the North East and the Midlands about raising them to Tier 3.
Leaders in the Tees Valley said they had not reached an agreement with the Government over entering Tier 3.
The leaders of Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington, Stockton and Hartlepool councils, the Mayor of Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley Mayor issued a statement.
On behalf of the group, councillor Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “The Government informed us late last night of their intention to take the Tees Valley into Tier 3 restrictions.
“We have had an initial meeting with ministers this afternoon where they again stressed this intention due to the current infection rate and the increased number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
An update from me regarding reports that the West Midlands will be moving into Tier 3 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/KrCvZcZlQC
— Andy Street (@andy4wm) October 29, 2020
Local authority sources in the West Midlands said the “very high” restrictions level could be imposed “by the end of next week or the start of the following week”.
The region’s Conservative mayor Andy Street said on Thursday that “no decision has yet been made locally nor by central government in regards to some or all of the West Midlands Combined Authority area moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3”.
Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Given the rising case rate and other factors, a move to Tier 3 would seem to be inevitable at some stage.”
Talks have been continuing between the government and West Yorkshire leaders.
If Birmingham and Newcastle are put into Tier 3 almost all of England’s major cities will be under the highest level of restrictions with the notable exception of London and Bristol.
London, which has by far the highest population out of all the UK’s cities, is currently under Tier 2 restrictions but local leaders have warned its infection rates are only a few weeks behind those in the North.
If London enters Tier 3 it is likely a national lockdown for England won’t be far behind.