MATT Hancock has confirmed fresh talks are to take place over introducing stricter measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in the North East. 

The health secretary told the House of Commons on Monday that Teesside is among the areas where a move to Tier 3 would be discussed.

He said discussions are planned with leaders in Teesside, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, and the North East about further measures.

It comes after the region was given a reprieve last week when other parts of the country, including Liverpool and Lancashire were placed into the highest level of restrictions. 

He told MPs: "The message to everybody in the North East is there are early signs this is starting to work but we're not there yet.

"So let's all stick with it, work together, support each other, support the NHS and absolutely we will bring in the economic support to ensure both we help businesses as much as possible, help employers and help individuals through this crisis and then the levelling up agenda after that is something that is vital to unite the whole country."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Nobody knows what is needed and what is most important for a particular area more than the leaders and experts who live there. That is why I was pleased last week to be able to spearhead a meeting between myself, council leaders and Downing Street officials so that leaders from across the political spectrum were able to come together to get the best outcome for the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. 

“Recent data shows the number of coronavirus cases across the Tees Valley is flattening. This needs to come down further, but it shows if we can keep this up, we can avoid the catastrophic consequences of moving into the highest level of restrictions and the extremely difficulty sacrifices that everyone is making are not in vain.  

“Our position is constantly being reviewed and in the meantime, I strongly urge everyone in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to follow the rules that are currently in place so that we can get the virus back under control and return to normal as soon as possible.   

“None of us want to spend a day longer than is absolutely necessary under these new restrictions, but it would be such a tragedy to waste all of our hard work and all the sacrifices we have made so far.”

The Conservative Mayor later tweeted: "After today’s statement, I spoke to Matt Hancock’s team and I was pleased that they confirmed what local leaders were told on Friday - that there are NO imminent plans to move our area to tier 3."  

It is understood further talks will take place this week with a decision on next stages likely by Friday. 

Elsewhere, Greater Manchester is currently in a standoff with the government over plans to place the area into tier three restrictions.