MATT Hancock will reveal what places will go into Tier 3 today at 11.30.
The Health Secretary will give a statement in the House of Commons, where he will announce if they will go into stricter rules – which force restaurants, pubs and other indoor activities to shut.
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Schools, shops and gyms can stay open in the top Tier, however.
Ministers and health bosses were locked in intense tiers discussions until late last night to make the final decisions.
But it's expected that only a small number of areas will get changed.
Mr Hancock may take some areas down from Tier 3 to 2 – with Manchester, Leeds and parts of Birmingham urging to be marked down.
Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull are also clamouring to be freed from the harshest rules after their rates fell since the last decision.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said there is a "clear case" for his region to go down to Tier 2.
But he said he fears ministers will "overcompensate" because of the decision to allow the Christmas easing of restrictions to go ahead despite warnings it will lead to a spike in infections and deaths.
However, NHS bosses warned that no areas should go down a Tier at the moment.
NHS Providers, which represents the 216 NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health trusts in England, has written to Mr Johnson warning of a third wave.
Urging "extreme caution" on moving areas down a tier, organisation officials said: "Trust leaders are worried that if infection rates remain as high as they are the moment, relaxing the restrictions will trigger a third wave."
The news comes as:
- 11,000 extra new cases were recorded in Wales after an error in the computer systems
- Boris Johnson told families last night to have a smaller, shorter Christmas gathering – but did not scrap the bubble rules
- However, in Wales people were told to only bubble with two households, and in Scotland they were ordered to only spend one day together
- Guidance for England said people should isolate from Friday if they were seeing family – and people should not travel from Tier 3 areas if they could
- People should consider meeting family outside – or keeping the windows open instead
But the PM has been warned to expect riots if cities with low Covid rates remain in Tier 3.
One political insider in the Midlands told The Sun: “If they don’t come out of Tier 3 there will be riots. They have brought their rates down immeasurably, there is no reason for them not to come out.”
But a Whitehall insider told The Sun: “I would be surprised if any area goes down a tier.
"It would look very strange to loosen restrictions when everyone is so worried that the Christmas rules could fuel higher rates.”
London and much of the South East were ordered into Tier 3 early amid rocketing cases.
From their most recent report, published yesterday, it suggests that Oxfordshire, East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and Northamptonshire have all seen an uptick in infections.
Oxfordshire is currently in Tier 2 and data from the app shows that the area has 188 cases per 100,000 and 50 cases per 100,000 people in the over 60s.
However, the threshold for being put into Tier 3 is around 220 cases per 100,000.
The app has also predicted that East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove could be moved into Tier 3.
The data suggests that the area has 232 cases per 100,000 people and 63 cases per 100,000 in those over the age of 60.
The top Tiers, although they face extra restrictions, can get access to rapid result tests and mass testing programmes to try and drive down.
London and parts of Essex and Kent have also got access for schoolkids to get tests as cases among secondary school children soared last week.
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