HEALTH secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that Warrington may be moved into the 'very high' tier 3 alert level.

Council leader Russ Bowden said earlier today talks had started between Warrington Borough Council and the Government over moving the town from tier 2 to 3.

The Guardian understands more talks are likely this week with any confirmation possible as early as next week.

Matt Hancock, speaking during a general debate on Covid-19 in Parliament, added that Warrington may be moved into Tier 3.

He told MPs: "We are formally beginning discussions with Warrington about moving into the very high alert level due to a continuing rise in cases there."

Mr Hancock added: "I hope that with everybody supporting these measures and taking the actions that are necessary, we can keep these restrictions in place for as little time as possible.

"But I am absolutely convinced that we do need to make progress and what I have announced today is that we will formally start the talks and I hope that we can reach an agreement and a resolution soon."

Earlier he said he remained optimistic of a solution despite rising cases and deaths across the country.

He added: "The fight is not over and the virus continues to spread, and cases and hospitalisations and tragically deaths are all rising.

"Yesterday we learned Liverpool hospital trust is now treating more Covid patients than at the peak in April.

"And across the UK, the number of deaths has doubled in under the fortnight.

"And yet, just as the situation we face is grave, so too is hope of a solution growing.

"And with every day my confidence in the ingenuity of science to bring resolution grows, but until that moment we must have resolve."

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington South MP Andy Carter raised concerns over the increase in infections in the over 60s.

“I’ve held discussions with number 10 over the last few days to ensure that the right level of funding is agreed, as have local leaders and further calls this morning with Health Ministers," he said.

"We are all united in wanting to bring infection rates down, we all have our own part to play in following the guidance. Warrington Hospital will shortly exceed the peak number of in patients from the first wave and as infection rates grow the number of key workers who have to self-isolate brings additional challenges to ensure the right level of care can continue.

“Public health officials have raised particular concern around the significant increase in infections in the over 60s, with the rapid rise to 195 per 100,000 alongside a wider trend of infections impacting all age groups in Warrington there is an increasing likelihood that the town will move into the ‘Very High’ in the coming days.

“Yesterday I raised in parliament the need to give more specific targeted support for businesses that are able to open but are operating under restrictions, I was pleased to see the Chancellor respond today in his announcements and introduce further grants for hospitality and leisure businesses”.