Boris Johnson is planning to plunge England into a full lockdown until December, it has been reported this evening.
The Prime Minister met with his Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Health Minister Matt Hancock for crunch talks this afternoon.
They came to the conclusion that more severe restrictions of freedoms are necessary due to the demand being placed on hospitals.
Mr Johnson's reluctant conclusion was that a full national lockdown for England until December was necessary.
What do you make of this move by the government? Tell us below.
Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, told ministers on Thursday morning that the virus is "out of control".
It is likely that everything but essential shops, nurseries, universities and schools will be shut.
The PM is expected to hold a press conference on the matter on Monday.
"The data is really bad," a source told The Times.
"We are seeing coronavirus rising all over the country and hospitals are really struggling to cope."
Government ministers were shown data suggesting that NHS beds would be overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients.
The news comes at the end of a week in which coronavirus deaths in the UK have risen to levels last seen in May.
Today the Covid-19 death toll shot up by 274, while infections increased by more than 24,000.
This is the biggest Friday jump in deaths since May 29, when 274 fatalities were also recorded.
Government scientists now believe it is inevitable the whole country will end up in lockdown if we are to avoid 800 deaths a day from coronavirus.
Earlier today it was reported that the SAGE panel of experts is pushing Boris Johnson to U-turn again and call a national circuit break.
They are now convinced that without drastic action every region will eventually end up with at least Tier 3 restrictions anyway.
Sources say is not too late to “save Christmas” but a national lockdown longer than the originally suggested two-week circuit break is required.
Ministers continued to defend the use of local restrictions amid speculation they are considering a more restrictive Tier 4 category.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are battling a second wave, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring those numbers back down.”