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Covid: Middlesbrough chiefs planning for Tier 3

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image captionMiddlesbrough's coronavirus infections have dropped but are "still high" compared to others, according to the council

A top council officer says Middlesbrough is planning for the highest tier of covid-19 restrictions.

The second lockdown ends on 2 December and a three tier system will then be introduced, with an announcement due on Thursday revealing each area's fate.

Tony Parkinson, chief executive of the council, said rates had dropped but were "still high" compared to others.

The "very high" tier three restrictions would see bars and restaurants remain closed except for takeaways.

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said there was talk of the whole of the North East going into the top tier, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Mr Parkinson gave an update on how the council planned to recover from the impacts of the pandemic at the latest Middlesbrough Council executive on Tuesday.

"Our rate has come down from about 507 per 100,000 to about 307 per 100,000 which is great," he said. 

"Thank you to everyone who has conformed and sacrificed everything. 

"We're still higher than average in the country so we've got to expect tier three, the rumours are tier three but until Thursday we don't know."

media captionLaura Foster explains the new three tier system for England

Strict rules would also remain in place to prevent households mixing, apart from between 23 and 27 December when up to three households will be able to meet at Christmas.

Mr Preston told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday that Middlesbrough would be in tier three if he had to bet on it but was hoping for Tier Two, again pointing to falling infection rates. 

The NHS data dashboard showing rolling covid rates from 16 to 22 November records a rate of 307.1 per 100,000 people.

Redcar and Cleveland has fallen below the 300 mark on 292.4 per 100,000 with Stockton on 299 per 100,000 over the same seven day period. 

The Government has indicated it will look at the rate of covid among over 60s, whether rates are rising or falling, the "positivity rate" - or number of positive covid cases as a percentage of the number of tests - and pressure on the NHS in deciding the tiers.

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