Discussions are "ongoing" over whether to move Northumberland, Newcastle and elsewhere in the north east of England into the highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Government confirmed this afternoon that discussions are continuing over whether to move areas in the north east of England into the "very high" level of its new three-tier Covid alert system.

Discussions are ongoing over moving the following areas into the top tier:

Newcastle upon Tyne, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Country Durham.

The following areas in the Tees Valley are also being considered for an increase in Covid restrictions:

Darlington, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool Stockton on Tees, Redcar and Cleveland.

Discussions are also ongoing over moving Bradford, Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield into the top tier of restrictions, along with Nottingham and parts of Nottinghamshire.

As of Saturday, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent and Slough will move from Covid alert level "medium" to Covid alert level "high".

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Unfortunately, we are seeing rising rates of infection in Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and in Slough. In all these areas, there are over 100 positive cases per 100,000 people.

“Cases are doubling around every fortnight and we are seeing a concerning increase of cases among the over 60s.

“So we have agreed, in partnership with local leaders, to move these areas into the High local alert level area, coming into force at one minute past midnight on Saturday.

“I’d like to thank local leaders in these areas for the work that they’ve done, for their co-operation, and I can assure the people of Stoke-on-Trent, of Coventry and of Slough that we will support you all the way through.”