A DECISION on whether the North-East will be placed into the strictest tier of restrictions may not be made this week as talks have been paused, it is understood.

Council and authority leaders in the region were reportedly in talks with the Government over whether Tier 3 restrictions would be introduced.

A decision on whether the North-East would see tighter measures, including a ban of mixing with other households both indoors and outdoors, was expected on Friday.

But talks have reportedly been paused following signs that progress has been made in the Tees Valley and Tyneside area with fewer new Covid-19 cases reported this week.

READ MORE: Why parts of the North-East could escape Tier 3 if it happened

Earlier this week The Northern Echo reported that six council areas in the region had seen a fall in Covid-19 infections.

Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Gateshead, South and North Tyneside and Northumberland saw fewer Covid-19 cases in the seven days up to October 15, than the week previous.

It prompted both the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll to say that it would be unlikely the region would face Tier 3 restrictions this time round.

Mr Driscoll said: “We are expecting to meet with Government ministers and officials later this week, but nothing is in the diary and we have had no contact since Friday. 

“Last week we talked through their data, and our data, epidemiology, NHS capacity and public health interventions.

“They accepted there was no case for moving into Tier 3.

“The latest evidence is that, across our region, case rates have plateaued or are falling.

“I want to say a thank you to the public for following the law and the guidelines, and staying safe.”

Meanwhile Mr Houchen said Covid-19 cases in Darlington and the Tees Valley were "flattening".

He said: “The data shows the number of 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.

Discussions have also taken place about moving Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire into the highest category of restrictions.

An official statement on the pausing of talks is expected to be made later this evening.