HEALTH secretary Matt Hancock says ‘we need to act in places like Warrington’ over the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols quizzed Mr Hancock on transmission data for the hospitality sector in yesterday’s House of Commons debate on Covid-19.

She asked: “As Warrington’s neighbouring Liverpool city region and Lancashire are in tier three, with Greater Manchester expected to follow shortly if financial support is agreed, we need confidence that if we are asked to follow suit there is robust evidence for the required closure of hospitality businesses, leisure businesses and salons.

“Will the secretary of state commit to publishing the specific UK transmission data for these sectors compared with other workplaces—or are they merely a soft target?"

In response, Mr Hancock stated that action was needed ‘in places like Warrington where the number of cases is going up’.

He replied: “We published further data late last week on exactly the question that the honourable lady asks.

“We have the backward contact tracing in place that the honourable member for Leicester South Jonathan Ashworth asked for—I apologise for not answering his question on that—and we have seen the evidence from that.

“The critical thing though is for us all to recognise that in places like Warrington and the surrounding area, where the number of cases is going up—and the number of cases among the over 60s is going up, which is particularly worrying—we do need to act, and to act together if at all possible.”

Meanwhile, talks between Downing Street and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and other leaders in the city are continuing over the possibility of the area being placed into tier three.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: "If at all possible, we do want to engage constructively with Greater Manchester and agree on a way forward.

But if an agreement cannot be reached, the Government will intervene ‘in order to protect hospitals and save the lives of residents’.

Discussions over restrictions were also taking place with key figures in the north west, south and west Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.