Lancashire and Merseyside are set to join the North East in enduring tougher restrictions designed to curb coronavirus.

Local authorities in England's North West are said to be expecting a Government announcement today, following the introduction of restrictions in Newcastle, Northumberland, Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and North Tyneside.

It's not yet known exactly what form these restrictions will take. Local lockdown-style rules have varied across the country, but in the North East they've included a ban on meeting people in private homes, and earlier closing times for leisure businesses.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson told BBC Breakfast he would welcome action in Merseyside.

He said: "The measures the Government will be likely to impose on Liverpool today, similar to what they did with the North East yesterday, is unfortunate but welcome because what I am worried about is that, if we don't tackle the measures now, then we will head towards the winter and Christmas period where we could be in a real difficult position, not just here but across the country."

In Lancashire, where Preston, Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle already have restrictions in place, it has been reported that measures will be introduced for all of the county apart from Blackpool.

LancsLive reported a local lockdown would forbid households from mixing in any setting in all of the county's boroughs apart from parts of the seaside resort.

North East lockdown restrictions

A post on the Lancashire County Council Twitter account said: "We are expecting an announcement later today by Government on new measures to bring down the rate of Covid-19 infections in Lancashire.

"We are awaiting the full details and will let you know what it means for you and our county as soon as we can."

But some in the county opposed any new rules.

Neil Shaw, chief executive of Rossendale Borough Council tweeted: "To be clear, no leader in Rossendale has called for the introduction of tighter restrictions. The Govt may impose these at some point but we are making the case why they shouldn't."

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In Warrington, public health leaders appealed to residents not to visit other households earlier this week as case numbers grew in the borough.

Nine of the 10 areas with the highest infection rates are in the North West, and most parts of Greater Manchester are already subject to restrictions.

In Bolton, which has the highest number of cases in the country, measures were brought in last week restricting restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to takeaway only, and requiring all hospitality venues to close between 10pm and 5am.