Both the Daily Mail and the Times have cited government sources that say a lockdown could be announced as early as Monday, although there are different reports on how firm the plan is.
A nationwide lockdown is expected as early as next week as coronavirus cases continue to rise, it was reported.
The government is said to be deeply concerned about the increase in infections.
The lockdown could close everything except essential businesses and educational institutions such as kindergartens and schools.
According to the Times, Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Health Minister Matt Hancock and Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove to discuss the new NHS data.
Members of Sage, the scientific body advising the government, have already warned that a lockdown is needed if we are to prevent more than 500 deaths from covids per day in winter.
Data for October 30, 2020 showed that there were 24,405 daily coronavirus cases in the UK and 158,748 in the last seven days – an increase of 12%.
The announcement could be made as early as Monday at a press conference.
According to the Times, one source said the data was “really bad”, the Times warned: “We are seeing a rise in coronavirus across the country and hospitals are having a real hard time coping with it”.
The most recent R-number – the rate at which the infection spreads – is 1.1 to 1.3, and the government is striving to bring it below 1.
In Liverpool, the Tier 3 blocking mechanism appears to be working and the total number of cases has been decreasing in recent days.
The Telegraph – a newspaper considered to be close to the Prime Minister – also reported that Johnson is considering a “fourth tier”, which would go beyond the already strict bans currently in place in Liverpool and other cities.
The Mail reported, however, that there is a deep split within the government over the idea of further national lockdown.
Sage advises that it is not yet too late to save Christmas, but that a national lockdown, longer than the two-week power outage originally recommended, is necessary.
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Sir Patrick Vallance, senior scientific advisor and head of Sage, is known to advocate more stringent restrictions.
The ministers continued to defend the application of local restrictions amid speculation about a more restrictive Tier 4 category.
Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, had publicly endorsed the Prime Minister’s local restrictions at a recent briefing in Downing Street, but is expected to change his mind.