However Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, claimed the figures were based on selective data, ignoring hospitals where rates were lower.

Mr Burnham was backed by Professor Jane Eddleston, the region’s medical lead for the coronavirus response, who had been hand-picked by Downing Street to appear at a Number 10 press conference last week.

She said Greater Manchester’s intensive care capacity was not at risk of being overwhelmed because extra capacity would be available, adding: “The system can cope. If one looks at the stark figures one might be mistaken for thinking: ‘Oh gosh.’ But that does not take into account the additional capacity that will come into play.

“They would not know all of our escalation plans. We have got very detailed escalation plans. We would bring more beds into play. We have made provision, we have put aside quite a lot of our beds in Covid-secure facilities. As a consequence, the number of beds available at any one time are dynamic.”

Talks between Mr Burnham, the leaders of Greater Manchester’s councils, Downing Street chief of staff Sir Edward Lister and Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, broke down over the money being offered to the region.

During a call lasting 30 minutes, a hardship fund that could have been used to top up the Government’s Job Support Scheme¬†was discussed, but Northern leaders said it was then “taken off the table”.

Sources in Manchester said Number 10 kept a lot of the Northern leaders on “mute” for most of the conference call, and Mr Jenrick spoke only in “the most broad terms about the basis of a deal”.¬†Downing Street declined to discuss what was said.

Sources involved in talks over Sheffield and South Yorkshire signalled that a deal over the region entering Tier 3 could come on Tuesday, while Mr Hancock said talks about Tier 3 status were ongoing with West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the North East and Teesside.

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