Health Secretary Matt Hancock has spoken about how local lockdowns in places like Merseyside may work in future.

As the government looks to move out of the national lockdown, it is moving to a system that aims to identify local outbreaks by a track and trace system.

This could then result in localised lockdown measures.

Merseyside has struggled to bring down its coronavirus 'R' or infection rate at the same speed as other parts of the country.

This evening Mr Hancock was asked how a local lockdown might work.

He said: "The truth is, we are attempting to move the system from national blanket measures to a more targeted approach.

"But we've always said we are prepared to reintroduce measures either nationally or on a more local level if needed.

"The goal is of course of keeping the R rate below 1.

"Taking local action to respond to a local flare up is an incredibly important part of the tool kit.

"One example of this would be shutting new admissions to a hospital A and E department if there was an outbreak.

"The Local director of Public Health at a local council has a statutory duty and responsibility and they would work with regional NHS teams to get the response right."

Mr Hancock said the government's new Joint Biosecurity, which he admitted was not fully operational yet, would deliver the data to the local areas.

He added: "That architecture is now established, we are putting in place those data flows.

Earlier in the press conference, Mr Hancock claimed the country is 'winning' the battle against coronavirus, with the number of new cases at its lowers point since March 25.

But the Health Secretary urged people not to 'step too far' and risk 'throwing away the progress that we've made.'

He announced that there were just 1570 new cases of the virus confirmed in the country in the past 24 hours, which is the lowest since March 25.

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While he may have been speaking positively, Mr Hancock also revealed that the government's official total of Covid-19 deaths now stands at 39, 045.

It is widely thought that this number will be significantly higher in reality.

Mr Hancock also urged anyone with symptoms of the virus to come forward for a test.

The government's data shows that while the testing capacity target of 200,000 was exceeded in the past 24 hours, just 128, 437 tests were carried out.

He said: "We have seen continued downward progress in the number of confirmed cases - "I think this data shows that we are winning the battle."