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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly considering imposing tougher new national lockdown restrictions from next week, following concerns hospitals are being overwhelmed with Covid cases, The Times reports.
Johnson met with the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister as well as Matt Hancock, the health secretary, to discuss NHS data yesterday.
It is reported that he will hold a press conference on Monday to announce the new lockdown measures, which could mean non-essential shops could close.
Under the rules, writes The Times, educational settings that include schools, nurseries and universities would remain open.
It is believed the restrictions could be introduced Wednesday and remain in place for a number of weeks, until December 1.
A senior government source told the paper the measures were under discussion and no final decision has been made.
New, tougher regional lockdown measures are reportedly being considered as well, known as Tier 4, however, ministers are said to favour a national policy.
The news comes after scientific advisers told the government that more restrictions were needed to 'save Christmas'.
SAGE scientists presented No10 with bleak figures showing Covid-19 is spreading 'significantly' faster than their original 'worst-case scenario prediction', the Mail Online writes.
The dramatic move into national lockdown is expected to be announced next week, but how the new lockdown will look or what would be ordered to shut is not yet clear.
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It's also said Sunak and Johnson agonised over the decision in fear it would affect the economy, and leave it in tatters, ahead of retail and hospitality sectors' biggest season.
SAGE advisors claim a national lockdown, or shorter circuit-breaker lockdown, is the only way to prevent more coronavirus deaths in the harsh winter ahead and festive season.
Experts believe data now suggests every region of England will end up with at least Tier 3 restrictions eventually.
This would mean pubs and bars closing and a nationwide ban on socialising with people you do not live with indoors.
However, the UK could be faced with these measures if tougher new restrictions are implemented nationwide after the weekend.
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- Boris Johnson
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