Boris Johnson is set to order pubs and restaurants to shut across much of northern England, including in Manchester and Liverpool, from Monday in a bid to halt the spiralling COVID-19 outbreaks there.
As coronavirus cases soar in many parts of the north, the government is said to be poised to strengthen restrictions for about ten million people across the north of England.
The Times reports that the PM will defy a growing rebellion, some of them his own MPs, and order that pubs and restaurants must shut in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
It says the PM has signed off on the lockdown this evening, alongside new financial support measures and a ‘simplified system of restrictions in England’.
The paper says it’s believed Mr Johnson planned to announce the new restrictions today but was delayed by ‘cabinet divisions’.
It comes after Scotland announced it will shut pubs and restaurants in central locations for at least two weeks.
Manchester had the unwanted title of the highest infection rate in the land before it was overtaken by Liverpool and Knowsley.
The number of cases is rising all across Greater Manchester and, nationally, the number of daily deaths is also starting to rise.
The Government said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 14,162 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 544,275.
The Government also said a further 70 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday. This brings the UK total to 42,515.