BARROW is expected to be placed into the high alert tier of coronavirus restrictions in the coming days, according to the town’s MP.

Simon Fell said a request by local leaders and health bosses to put the Barrow borough into the second tier of measures would be considered by the Government today.

He said an announcement placing the area into the second tier could come on Thursday.

Local leaders had expected Barrow to be placed into the high alert level on Monday, but instead the area was placed in tier one - the medium alert level - along with the rest of Cumbria.

Mr Fell said he would be surprised if a meeting of government figures including health secretary Matt Hancock and senior medical advisors rejected proposals to place Barrow in the higher category.

In an announcement on Monday, Boris Johnson said there would be a three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions corresponding to ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ alert levels depending on local infection rates.

Barrow was placed in the lowest tier of restrictions, banning gatherings of more than six people and forcing pubs to close at 10pm.

In the ‘high’ alert tier two, mixing of households indoors would be banned. Pubs and restaurants would stay open. Two households could meet in a private garden but the rule of six and social distancing applies.

Mr Fell said: “Going into the next tier is still the expectation.

“I would be surprised with where our figures are if that didn’t happen.

“We have literally days to turn this around.

“The numbers are going in the wrong direction.

“Hopefully new restrictions will make people change their behaviour, otherwise we can fully expect a more punishing lockdown.”

Cumbria Police assistant chief constable Andy Slattery said yesterday he expected Barrow to be placed in the second tier of restrictions.

“We expected that decision yesterday, but it didn’t come yesterday, and what we’ve been told is, because of the timings of the meetings, we won’t get a decision on that till Thursday at the latest," he said.

“Barrow is currently 270 cases per 100,000, so Barrow is approximately twice the rate that Leicester was when Leicester locked down.

“We’re very concerned about the rising infection rates, the rise in hospitalisation.

“I’ve asked our test track and trace staff in Cumbria where the biggest sources of infection are. They’re very much in family settings, very much with socialising between different households. And that’s why we’re focusing the messages, asking people to cut down on inter-household socialising.

“I’m very concerned by potentially having to introduce more intense measures. Nobody wants to impose any additional restrictions. What we want to do is try and avoid the highest tier. If by abiding by the relatively modest measures in tier two means we never go to tier three, then that’s a success. We don’t want to lock down the hospitality industry. What we want is to get the virus under control.”

The decision to ask for Barrow to be placed under tighter restrictions was agreed unanimously by the Area Outbreak Board which includes political leaders and heath, police and health chiefs, last week.