THE are reports that the government could launch a "three-tier" system next week which would see lockdown rules simplified in England.

The new approach to Covid-19 restrictions across the country would see just three sets of rules and restrictions. 

It would see rules fairly relaxed in parts of England, but full lockdowns in areas where the Covid-19 infection rate is exponentially high. 

Analysis has shown that the majority of the North-East would either be in Tier Two or Three - where rules would be more stringent.

The Department of Health last month confirmed a system was being considered, but it is understood could be in force from next week.

But how would such a system look and how would it affect the North-East? 

Currently areas under local lockdown restrictions have rules that have been influenced by affected local authorities.

In the region, County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside and Northumberland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough have the same rules.

But in the North-West of England and in the West Midlands, where restrictions have been imposed, the rules have varied somewhat.

Under the new 'three-tier' system, areas that fall into tier one - which have fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 population, would have to stick to national restrictions. 

It is understood that these restrictions would include the "rule of six" and continuation of social distancing measures. 

Areas that fall into tier two, which is where cases are above 100 per 100,000 population, would see restrictions similar to those that have been imposed in the North-East.

This would include a ban on households meeting with other households in any indoor settings including in pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes.

The final tier, the most stringent of the restrictions, would apply to areas with extremely high rates of Covid-19 with full lockdowns imposed.

It is understood these areas could see businesses severely restricted, excluding supermarkets and places of worship.

Here's how the North-East could look if the system was in force

These are the Covid-19 infection rates for the region between September 27 and October 4, published on October 7.

Tier Two/Three 

- Newcastle upon Tyne 479.8 cases per 100,000 people

- Sunderland 285.6 cases per 100,000 people

- South Tyneside 266.9 cases per 100,000 people

- Middlesbrough 250.4 cases per 100,000 people

- Hartlepool 243.4 cases per 100,000 people

- Gateshead 232.1 cases per 100,000 people

- Stockton-on-Tees 228.5 cases per 100,000 people

- North Tyneside 226.5 cases per 100,000 people

- County Durham 193.6 cases per 100,000 people

- Northumberland 177.4 cases per 100,000 people

- Darlington 171.3 cases per 100,000 people

- Redcar and Cleveland 169.2 cases per 100,000 people

- Richmondshire 119.1 cases per 100,000 people

- Hambleton 108.1 cases per 100,000 people

Tier One

- No areas in the North-East and North Yorkshire