New lockdown restrictions for the north-east of England, including a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants and a restriction to offer table service only, will come into force from Friday, sparking fears of further localised curfews across the country to curb a second peak of the virus.
Addressing the House of Commons, health secretary Matt Hancock said he was responding to local councils in the north-east who had been calling for "tighter restrictions" to be introduced. The new measures also include a localised ban on mixing two or more households.
Hancock said that the country needed to "bolster our defences and come together once again against this common foe". He added: "The battle against coronavirus is not over."
The new tougher measures will affect almost two million people in north-east England, including Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham, and are in response to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the area.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday morning, Labour leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes said the priority was to increase the number of tests available so people could be tested straight away. He also posted on Twitter that "some additional temporary restrictions are being planned to prevent another full lockdown".
In Wales, Rhondda Cynon Taf is to go into a localised lockdown from 6pm on Thursday, which will see pubs closed nightly from 11pm and a travel ban in and out of the borough due to rising coronavirus cases.
In the north-west of England, Bolton has had restrictions in place since 8 September, with hospitality businesses restricted to takeaway-only and all ordered to shut between 10pm and 5am.