WORCESTERSHIRE could be in line for more stringent coronavirus measures after the government unveiled its new system for lockdown restrictions.

In his address to the Commons on Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson outlined the new scheme, though said the exact criteria will not be worked out until Tuesday, eventually coming into effect on Wednesday (October 14).

The PM confirmed there are now more people being treated for coronavirus in hospitals than during March, when the national lockdown was implemented.

Despite this, he said he did not want the country to go into another lockdown, saying it would have devastating consequences for the economy.

READ MORE: Worcester businesses react to lockdown's effect on trade

Mr Johnson said: "This morning (Monday) the chief medical officer set out the stark reality of the second wave of coronavirus.

"The number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks and there are more people in hospital now than in March.

"There are those who believe we should go into a second national lockdown of indefinite length, but I do not believe that is the right course of action.

"There are also those who say the patience of the public is expended, and that we should stand aside and let the virus run its course.

"I understand the emotions and frustrations of those who have been chafing under the restrictions, but if we were to take that step, not only would there be an intolerable death toll, we would put so much strain on the NHS that the doctors and nurses would not be able to treat patients for cancer, heart disease and other conditions."

READ MORE: Worcestershire County Council's concern over rising coronavirus cases

The prime minister went on to explain the new three-tier system, saying there will be different levels which local authorities will be placed in depending on their infection rates.

Under the new system, most local authorities will go into the "medium" tier, which will consist of the current lockdown measures including the rule of six and 10pm closing times for pubs and restaurants.

The next level up will be "high" and will include most areas which are currently subject to local lockdown restrictions.

Worcestershire’s director for public health, Dr Kathryn Cobain, said the county would be placed in the “medium category” and called on the public to keep up their work keeping the virus rates down.

She said: “This means we have a choice now; we can follow the rule of six, keep washing our hands, wear face coverings and keep our distance and keep Worcestershire safe.

READ MORE: Latest figures show where coronavirus spikes are in Worcester

“If we all do this, we avoid further restrictions and finding our county in the upper tiers of measures. We don’t want that to happen here, and so now is the time to do our utmost to follow the rules.”

Mr Johnson said areas where the number of cases rises the most rapidly will be put into the "very high" tier.

In this tier, restrictions on social mixing will be imposed, as well as closing pubs and restaurants.

Schools, workplaces and shops will remain open in this case, according to Mr Johnson.

During this time, chancellor Rishi Sunak's jobs support scheme will be continued.

He added: "This is not how we want to live our lives, but this is the line we have to tread.

"The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country. I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed."