ENGLAND will not be subject to a whole-country, 'firebreaker' lockdown despite a rise in coronavirus cases, government officials have said.

At a live coronavirus update from Downing Street this evening, the deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan said “Pretty much everywhere in England is heating up to some extent.”

Professor Van-Tam said coronavirus cases are rising most worryingly among the over 60s, putting pressure on the NHS.

“The infections that have seeded in the younger age groups are now penetrating the older age groups,” he said.

“This is most concerning because it is the penetration of the disease into the older age groups that gives the NHS significant problems.”

However, when asked about a ‘firebreaker’ lockdown for England, as seen in Northern Ireland and Wales, Professor Van-Tam said: "Do I think right now it is appropriate to insist on those similar hard measures in for example the southwest of England or Kent where the levels of disease are very much lower than in the north of England? No, I don't think that's right."

When asked about how many areas would need to be moved to Tier 3 restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “What we are trying to avoid is a national lockdown at all.

“We don’t rule anything out but the difficulty is that the distribution of the virus this time round is very uneven by comparison with March and April.

“And so the right response is, as many other countries are doing, to go to this local and regional approach.”

But during the briefing, the Prime Minister also confirmed that Greater Manchester will move to the “very high” (Tier 3) coronavirus alert level from Friday - despite the fact ongoing discussions with local leaders failed to reach an agreement.

After it was confirmed that Greater Manchester would receive £22 million in funding, rather than a larger package of support reportedly previously discussed, Labour deputy leader and Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner tweeted: “Disgraceful, a punishment nothing else.

“Greater Manchester been badly let down by the PM and his cronies in govt. Spiteful, Vindictive and Nasty, so many will now suffer great hardship, it will be the ones again who can least take it. Tories really do not care about the North.”

Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon tweeted: “Discussing with the Health Secretary is over; too much of this is about politics and not people.”

Wigan MP and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy tweeted: “In ten years in Parliament I’ve never seen anything like this.

“MPs are on a call with the Health Secretary being told Greater Manchester is getting only £22m while our Mayor is at a press conference being told by the media. This is bad faith, it’s immoral – just disgraceful.”