Stricter rules are being discussed despite the Government's new three-tier system for approaching local lockdowns only being in place for a matter of weeks.

It has emerged that discussions are taking place about what will happen if the current system does not make a difference to the spread of Covid-19 by the middle of November.

The hope is that current restrictions can bring the R number below 1, meaning that every case of Covid is causing less than one new case.

But if this does not happen by mid-November, a Tier 4 lockdown has been mooted alongside the possibility of localised, short-term circuit breakers.

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, refused to deny Tier 4 reports on Monday (October 26), saying the Government will "rule nothing out" when it comes to defeating the virus.

Lancashire has been in Tier 3 since Saturday, October 17, with the situation to be reviewed by this Saturday (October 31).

What would Tier 4 see?

At this stage, it is believed that Tier 4 lockdowns will see similar rules to what is in place across Scotland and Wales.

These rules are similar to what was seen in the national lockdown that was in place from March 23.

In Scotland, there is a five-tier system being introduced on November 2. It's highest tier would see the closure of non-essential shops including retail.

This is as well as all leisure, entertainment, and visitor attractions.

Weddings are being limited to five people, with hairdressers and beauty salons also closing their doors.

What about schools?

The man behind the national lockdown, Professor Neil Ferguson, said the Government may have to go further and close schools to older pupils if the three-tier system does not work by mid-November.

He told BBC Radio 4: "That (banning households mixing) should have a significant effect but as yet we have been unable to see it definitively.

"If we go beyond that there is a limit to what we can do in terms of reducing contacts, short of starting to target, for instance, the older years in schools and sixth form colleges where we know older teenagers are able to transmit as adults.

"Of course nobody wants to start moving to virtual education and closing schools even partially. The challenge may be that we are not able to get on top of the transmission otherwise."

How is Lancashire looking?

In short - not good at all right now.

The county is now home to the two worst infection rates in all of England, with Blackburn with Darwen and Rossendale topping the national table.

A total of 1,131 cases were recorded in Blackburn with Darwen in the seven days to October 22 - the equivalent of 755.5 cases per 100,000 people, up sharply from 515.0 in the previous week (the seven days to October 15).

Rossendale recorded 467 new cases over the same period giving it an infection rate of 653.3. This is up from a rate of 472.8 the previous week when 338 tested positive for the virus.

As well as this, 10 out of the 14 Lancashire boroughs now have infection rates above 400 with Chorley, Lancaster, Wyre and Fylde in the 300 range.

Essentially, the trend is continuing to worsen in Lancashire despite being under Tier 3 rules for 10 days. If it continues as it has, it is likely further measures will come in across Lancashire.

LancsLive understands that no decision will be made until we know better how Tier 3 is affecting the rate of infection.