REGIONS could be placed into Tier 3 lockdowns before they meet the case thresholds, an expert has warned.
Dr Clare Gardiner, the director general of the Joint Biosecurity Centre, said it could happen as a preventative measure.
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She said that talks were ongoing with council leaders and local directors of public health to implement “preventative action” to stop curb the increasing case rates.
The JBC was given the task of steering the response to the killer bugin June – but has also been criticised for its lack of transparency.
The Government has not publicised what the thresholds are for entering or leaving a higher tier.
Dr Gardiner has promised to publish the case number and positivity levels that trigger moving into a higher tier.
However, she said that decision was largely down to “professional judgments” rather than “hard thresholds” – meaning some areas may move into Tier 3 even if they don't meet the case requirements.
Giving evidence to the science and technology select committee, she said: "There are a number of other areas where one wants freedom to move to the upper tiers.
“Preventative or prophylactic action is another reason and at some of our local meetings, directors of public health, in consultation with council leaders, are proposing to move from a prevention perspective, even if they may not have met some of these soft triggers.”
It comes a day after the government announced that South Yorkshire will be plunged into a Tier 3 lockdown from Saturday – with Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley facing tougher rules after a £41million deal.
Around 1.4million people will go into extra restrictions, Sheffield's Mayor Dan Jarvis announced today, as not acting was "not an option".
Matt Hancock the Health Secretary has also warned further measures could be needed in Nottinghamshire.
West Yorkshire could also follow Manchester into Tier 3.
Teesside and the north-east would not move into the top tier yet despite being in discussions with the Government because there are "early signs" that cases are "starting to flatten",Mr Hancock said.
Boris Johnson has suggested full-scale regional lockdowns are close as Greater Manchester goes into tier three from 12.01am on Friday.
Local leaders are fuming after failing to broker a financial deal with the Government.
Mr Burnham discovered negotiations had failed – and instead of the £65million he says the region's businesses need, officials have returned to a starting offer of £22m – as he gave a live press conference.
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