BARNSLEY will remain in tier three of the government’s four-tier system, health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

It was announced at 3pm today that South Yorkshire - Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham - will remain in tier three until at least mid-January.

However the town’s public health director, Julia Burrows, has warned Barnsley could move into tier four in the future due to rising cases and a supposed ‘super strain’ of the virus being found across the country.

Ms Burrows said: “We’ve seen in other parts of the country that a new form of the virus is on the rise so it’s fair to assume another spell of lockdown will take hold locally.

“We’ve seen a recent rise in positive cases in Barnsley and I worry that Christmas Day will also lead to more in January.

“There is still cause for optimism - vaccines are here, they’re being rolled out and they’re most definitely reason to feel happier about next year’s outlook.

“Coronavirus also spreads faster in colder months so I do genuinely believe the picture will be much brighter come the spring.”

Tier three - which allows non-essential shops to trade but bans hospitality businesses from opening - has been in force since the second nationwide lockdown spell ended on December 2, and will continue until mid-January.