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Boris Johnson is locked in a stand-off with Manchester‘s mayor, who has refused to accept stricter Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions.

Andy Burnham said the north of England was being treated “as the canaries in the coal mine” for an experimental regional lockdown strategy.

He said the Government’s own top scientific advisors have told him such a strategy has no guarantee of success, and will result in job losses and hardship.

Mr Burnham said: “They [ministers] are asking us to gamble our residents’ jobs, homes and businesses and a large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work.

“We would never sign up for that.”

The Government has been pushing for the region’s politicians to accept Tier 3 measures which would include the closure of pubs and bars unless they could operate as restaurants.

Tier 3 involves pub closures and a ban on household mixing indoors, in private gardens and in most outdoor venues.

Meanwhile, other parts of England will move into Tier 2 from Saturday, including in London, Essex and York.

Under this “high” alert level there is a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

More than half of England’s population will now be living under high or very high-alert restrictions.

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Also Read: Andy Burnham Accuses Government Of Treating Greater Manchester Like A ‘Sacrificial Lamb’

But local MPs and council chiefs lined up to criticise the plan and the way it has been handled by Number 10 and the Department of Health and Social Care, with no decision yet announced on whether the Manchester region will face the top tier measures.A key sticking point is the extra funding that would be made available to Greater Manchester if harsher lockdown measures are imposed.More than half of England’s population will now be living under high or very high-alert restrictions.