The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said that talks continued at an official level on Tuesday morning ahead of the government’s midday deadline for an agreement on the introduction of Tier 3 controls in the region.
Boris Johnson is expected to hold a press conference when he outlines the government’s next steps on coronavirus controls in Greater Manchester, Downing Street said.
Downing Street press conference to provide an update on the coronavirus situation and talks with leading figures
The press conference will take place on Tuesday at 5 pm, reported The Mirror – and will be broadcast live on BBC News, Sky News and the online platforms of these broadcasters.
“The discussions continued this morning. I am not able to confirm how this was resolved,” said the spokesperson.
Mr Johnson also spoke directly to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, after the deadline expired.
Yesterday evening, community secretary Robert Jenrick wrote to local leaders in the region and gave them until noon today to reach an agreement – or have level 3 imposed on them.
The Prime Minister will be flanked by Professor Stephen Powis, National Clinical Director of the NHS England, and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
Meetings between officials from Greater Manchester and Downing Street lasted all morning until after 12 noon.
However, it is not expected that it will be announced whether they will be placed on the highest level of restrictions today.
As a spokesperson from Downing Street said, talks with council leaders in the north-east, north-west and parts of Yorkshire are still ongoing.
Figures suggesting that the R rate in the north-east “has started to fall slightly” could change the talks, a spokesman for the prime minister suggested.
Downing Street also tried to play down reports that Britain could be heading for a last-minute shutdown of circuit breakers before the halfway point in the legislature.
Last night the Telegraph reported that a so-called “gold meeting” is to be held on Wednesday to recommend that Britain, in agreement with Wales and in time for Friday’s mid-term vacations, should begin to switch off the circuits.
“And I think you have heard me and the Prime Minister say on several occasions that we believe the local level approach is the right one. Naturally, we’ll keep an eye on all the measures.”
But a spokesman for the Prime Minister said, “I’m not sure where that comes from. Gold meetings are held weekly, but this is to look at the latest data on local infection rates.
Asked directly about the planning of circuit breakers, he said: “I’m not sure where this is coming from: “Our planning is to have discussions with local officials about level 3 measures”.