Boris Johnson will spend the weekend considering whether to tighten Covid-19 measures further, after saying the UK was “now seeing a second wave”.
The government is understood to be looking at a ban on households in England mixing, and reducing opening hours for pubs and restaurants. Covid
At least 13.5 million people, roughly one-in-five of the UK population, are already facing local restrictions.
In London, additional measures were “increasingly likely”, its mayor said.
Mr Johnson only has direct power over restrictions in England. The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can set their own rules.
Widespread growth of the virus has been recorded across the country, with cases doubling every seven to eight days.
There were a further 4,322 confirmed cases on Friday – the first time the daily total of positive tests has exceeded 4,000 since 8 May.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Johnson said he did not “want to go into bigger lockdown measures” but that tighter social distancing rules might be necessary.
He added: “Clearly when you look at what is happening, you have got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in on Monday.”
The government is understood to be considering a short period of tighter rules across England – “a circuit break” – which could involve closing hospitality venues.
However, schools and workplaces would stay open.
No 10 is also looking at limiting the opening hours of pubs and restaurants across the country, as has already happened in many areas of north-east England, where pubs had to close at 22:00 BST on Friday.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have all called on the prime minister to hold an emergency Cobra meeting.
Ms Sturgeon said the next few days would be “critical” to avoid another full-scale lockdown in Scotland.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was extremely concerned by evidence of the accelerating speed with which coronavirus was spreading in the capital.
“We will be considering some of the measures which have already been imposed in other parts of the UK,” he said Read more