MILLIONS of people living in South and West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire could face stricter tier three measures by this weekend, it's reported.
Leaders in northern regions have been warned more could follow Manchester into tough new restrictions after days of battling between mayor Andy Burnham and No10.
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Boris Johnson has suggested full-scale regional lockdowns are close as Greater Manchester goes into tier three from 12.01am on Friday.
Local leaders are fuming after failing to broker a financial deal with the Government.
Mr Burnham discovered negotiations had failed – and instead of the £65million he says the region's businesses need, officials have returned to a starting offer of £22m – as he gave a live press conference.
Now it's understood South Yorkshire will agree tier three measures on Wednesday, with other areas also in talks, the Telegraph reports.
Last night, Matt Hancock the Health Secretary warned further measures could be needed in Nottinghamshire.
West Yorkshire could also follow Manchester into Tier 3.
Teesside and the north-east would not move into the top tier yet despite being in discussions with the Government because there are "early signs" that cases are "starting to flatten", he said.
Mr Johnson said the country is on a "narrow path" – and that he can't "rule out" further measures.
However, he is still resisting pressure for a full nationwide 'circuit-breaker' lockdown – and one of his top academics said it wouldn't be fair.
England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said during the Downing Street press conference: "Pretty much everywhere in England is now heating up to some extent.
"We are trying to walk a very fine line between getting the virus under control in areas where it's out of control, and incurring the minimum amount of economic damage in doing so.
"In the areas where it is out of control, hard measures are needed.
"But do I think right now it is appropriate to insist on similar hard measures in, for example, south-west England or Kent, where levels of disease are really very, very much lower than in the North of England?
"No, I don't think that's right."
Following the collapse of talks with Mr Burnham, Mr Johnson said it was "unfortunate" that measures would need to be pushed through.
However, he added that "given the public health situation, not to act would put Manchester's NHS, and the lives of many Manchester residents, at risk".
A deal for tier three measures collapsed when Mr Burnham apparently refused to accept £60million offered by the Government because he wanted an extra £5million.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Greater Manchester has been given £22million for testing and contact tracing – and that the offer of £60million for business support is still on the table if Mr Burnham "picks up the phone".
But the mayor said: "Is this a game of poker with people's lives?
"Are the Government trying to put pressure on people to take as little as they can possibly get away with?"
The failed negotiations have led to a furious backlash already, with one 'red wall' Tory MP accusing the Government of an "overwhelming failure".
And leaders in the north-east have said they will tell Boris Johnson to "sod off" if he tries to impose harsh tier three rules on them.
The leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, Shane Moore, tweeted on Monday evening: "Apparently it was announced in the House of Commons earlier that there were talks happening in relation to #Hartlepool & wider #TeesValley going into Tier 3.
"This is untrue.
"No talks with us since update on Friday & if anyone suggests it to me this week they'll be told to sod off."
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