NO DECISION on to move Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole into Tier 2 lockdown restrictions has been made, despite speculation it could happen in the coming days.

Speaking to the BBC, Dorset’s director for public health said a decision “would be made over the next few days” – a move that would make the area the first in the region to go into stricter restrictions.

But a spokesman for Public Health Dorset said “no decision had been made”, while BCP Council’s leader said the move “had not been discussed”.

It comes as the area has seen the number of coronavirus cases increase with a rate of just over 200 cases per 100,000 people reported.

Government figures show 91 people tested positive in the 24 hours leading to 4pm on October 27. In the Dorset Council area the number was 49.

And five further deaths have been recorded at Poole Hospital according to the latest data with eight now having taken place between October 20 and 25.

Speaking to the BBC, Sam Crowe, the county’s director for public health, said a decision on whether to move Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole into Tier 2 – or High – restrictions would be made this week.

“I think that where we are currently, that will be definitely something that will be discussed this week," he said. "If the rate doesn’t stabilise and if it doesn’t come down, we will need to take additional actions and, obviously, moving to Tier 2 is the next step in that contain framework.

“There will be a decision by government. One of the things that we need to be clear about locally are whether that would actually have the desired effect in terms of what we are seeing locally in our transmission.”

A spokesman for Public Health Dorset said “no decision has been made” on moving the conurbation into the High category but that “we are keeping things under constant review.”

Multi-agency meetings to discuss the area’s coronavirus response and infection rates are held multiple times a week with the latest due to take place tomorrow morning (Wednesday).

Ahead of that, the leader of BCP Council, councillor Drew Mellor, said the prospect of a move into Tier 2 restrictions “had not been discussed” and that work required to do so had not been carried out.

He said there had been “no pressure” from the government with the area still below the average rate of infections for England.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood said he was “not aware of any changes” planned to restrictions in the area.

This was echoed by Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns who added that he would "strongly resist" such a move, based on current infection and hospital admission rates.

"With the negative impact of the 10pm closing on the already bruised hospitality sector further restrictions should be an absolute last resort and based only on compelling data," he said.

Poole MP Robert Syms added: "Tobias is right this is not being considered."