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A GOVERNMENT crisis meeting discussed plunging Birmingham into a Tier Four lockdown before Christmas, says a report.

It comes amid soaring cases of a mutant coronavirus strain currently tearing through the South East of England.

The Daily Mirror reports that government officials at today’s Gold Command meeting discussed plans to put Birmingham, currently in Tier 3, into the harshest category of restrictions.

The possible move means that households in the region would no longer be able to mix on December 25 as part of a festive bubble.

A source in the meeting told the Mirror: “The situation is developing quickly so we need to respond at the same pace.

“It’s more likely that other parts of England could be put into Tier 4 from Boxing Day”.

Sources in the meetings said they eventually decided to delay imposing the harsh restrictions for now – but officials have pushed for a nationwide lockdown from Boxing Day to curb the mutant strain.

Ministers and medics met on Tuesday night after the new strain, believed to be up to 70 per cent more contagious, was found in parts of the South West, Midlands and the North.

Bug cases in the UK again saw their biggest ever daily rise after 36,804 new positive tests and 691 deaths.

That daily death toll is the second-highest figure since May and only five short of the 696 deaths posted on November 25, shortly after the second national lockdown was announced.

And positive tests have also nearly trebled since a fortnight ago, when 12,282 cases were recorded on December 8.

Meanwhile the total number of Covid patients in hospital climbed to 18,080 – the highest level since April 22.

With the new mutant strain now feared to be present in every region of the UK, health bosses and government ministers are urging people living in Tier 4 areas not to travel to other parts of the country.

Burnley, in Lancashire, has the highest Tier 3 infection rate, at 438 cases per 100,000 in the week to December 17.

It’s four times higher than Gosport, in Hampshire, which has the lowest cases of all Tier 4 areas, at just 159 per 100,000.

Boston and Lincoln, both in Lincolnshire and under Tier 3, each have around 400 cases per 100,000 people.

But it’s Rushmoor, on the border of locked down Surrey, that is of the most concern.

It’s under Tier 2 but with an infection rate of 378 cases per 100,000 people – higher than at least 22 Tier 4 areas.

Also on the list of at-risk areas are Stoke-on-Trent and East Staffordshire, which each have more than 300 cases per 100,000, according to PA analysis of Public Health England data.

By comparison, Tier 4 areas are reporting lower cases of 202 per 100,000 in Chiltern, 232 in North Hertfordshire, 248 in Welwyn Hatfield and 255 in Mole Valley.

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News – Fears Brum may be ‘plunged into tier 4 lockdown’ after crisis Covid meeting