Prime Minister Boris Johnson has approved placing millions more people into Tier 4 restrictions following more than 53,000 new cases on Tuesday.
Health Secretart Matt Hancock will make an announcement later today where it is expected he will outline which parts of the country will enter into the new measures.
On Tuesday Johnson met with senior Ministers following calls from government scientific advisors to place England into a third national lockdown.
Hancock told BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, “The new variant means the suppression of the virus is also much harder. That is why we had to introduce tier four.
“I’ll be setting out the further extensions we are going to have to make to tier four to the House of Commons later today.”
According to The Times newspaper, Cumbria in the North West, along with parts of the Southwest will move into Teir 4, and the West Midlands and Lancashire could also be plunged into the new measures.
A government source said, “We are seeing a surge in the new variant and we need to act quickly.”
The Daily Telegraph reported that at least two-thirds of England could be plunged into Tier 4 measures from today.
A health official told the newspaper, “Coronavirus cases are rising across the country fuelled by the new variant, which has spread far beyond London and the South-East.
“I would expect more than half of England to move into Tier 4, but it wouldn’t surprise me if two thirds end up in the top tier. There is also real concern about the South African variant which seems to be spreading fast.
“Unfortunately, more action is needed to combat rising cases across the board.”
Professor Andrew Hayward, an epidemiologist at University College London and a member of SAGE warned the country is entering a ‘very dangerous new phase of the pandemic’.
“We’re entering a new dangerous phase of the pandemic and we’re going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February.
“A 50% increase in transmissibility means that the previous levels of restrictions that worked before won’t work now and so Tier 4 restrictions are likely to necessary or even higher than that.”
There are also reports that Engand could enter into a new Teir 5. According to the Daily Mail, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned Johnson that tougher measures than the current Tier 4 are needed.
The source added, “We are ruling nothing out, the new strain is of serious concern. Tier 4 appears to not be strong enough.”