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All of Merseyside has been added to the government's coronavirus danger list as cases surge in the region, officials have announced.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson gave the grim news today as infection rates spiral across the city.
It was confirmed on Friday that Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley and St Helens have all been placed on the official watchlist following a spike in coronavirus cases.
This means the government is closely monitoring the situation across the region – home to more than 1.4 million people – and could soon impose fresh restrictions if cases continue to rise.
Parts of Merseyside will now be classed as areas of concern, which could be escalated to areas of enhanced support, before facing full-on intervention and further lockdowns, as happened recently in Leicester and Bolton.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Mayor Anderson said: "As expected we have had confirmation that the whole Merseyside region is now on the government's coronavirus watch list.
"This means we are being monitored and could be close to local lockdown measures.
"We will not be taking very serious action against any businesses that are not complying with coronavirus safety measures as we do everything we can to avoid more restrictions."
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Liverpool's infection rate has shot up in recent days and currently stands at more than 60 cases per 100,000 following a 7-day period where more than 300 new infections were confirmed.
Speaking at a city council cabinet meeting on Friday morning, Liverpool's Public Health Director described the rise in cases as "very concerning".
He said: "This is a very concerning situation for us, there has been a very rapid rise in infections.
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"These cases are rising across the whole city, we are experiencing widespread community transmission of Covid-19."
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