Lancashire and Merseyside are expected to be the latest parts of the country to see tougher restrictions put in place to control the spread of coronavirus amid a surge in Covid-10 cases.
Local authorities in England’s North West are said to be expecting a Government announcement on Friday, following the introduction of restrictions in the North East.
In Lancashire, where Preston, Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle already have restrictions in place, it has been reported that measures will be introduced for all of the county apart from Blackpool.
LancsLive reported a local lockdown would forbid households from mixing in any setting in all of the county’s boroughs apart from parts of the seaside resort.
A post on the Lancashire County Council Twitter account said: “We are expecting an announcement later today by Government on new measures to bring down the rate of Covid-19 infections in Lancashire.
“We are awaiting the full details and will let you know what it means for you and our county as soon as we can.”
The news was not welcomed by everyone in the county.
Neil Shaw, chief executive of Rossendale Borough Council tweeted: “To be clear, no leader in Rossendale has called for the introduction of tighter restrictions.
“The Government may impose these at some point but we are making the case why they shouldn’t.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson told BBC Breakfast he would welcome action in Merseyside.
He said: “The measures the Government will be likely to impose on Liverpool today, similar to what they did with the North East yesterday, is unfortunate but welcome because what I am worried about is that, if we don’t tackle the measures now, then we will head towards the winter and Christmas period where we could be in a real difficult position, not just here but across the country.”
In Warrington, public health leaders appealed to residents not to visit other households earlier this week as case numbers grew in the borough.
Nine of the 10 areas with the highest infection rates are in the North West.
Most parts of Greater Manchester are already subject to restrictions.
In Bolton, which has the highest number of cases in the country, measures were brought in last week restricting restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to takeaway only, and requiring all hospitality venues to close between 10pm and 5am.
The expected announcements come as the Health Secretary refused to rule out a second national lockdown.
Matt Hancock said the current approach was "targeted interventions" but "a national lockdown is the last line of defence". He added: "As we saw in the spring, it is the thing that we can do to keep people safe if that's needed. "So we're watching vigilantly, but we can see the number of cases accelerating, and we're prepared to do what it takes both to protect lives and to protect livelihoods, and of course, both are so important. "We want to avoid a national lockdown but we're prepared to do it, if we need to." Mr Hancock said the "big hope" is that people will come together "and get this under control, but it is a very serious situation."