Lancashire will likely this weekend become the latest swathe of England to be placed under tightened coronavirus restrictions.
Some 1.2 million people living in the county will be ordered to stop mixing with anyone from different households or using public transport for any non-essential journeys.
The new restrictions, expected to be announced by health secretary Matt Hancock on Friday, come as the region continues to struggle to drive down persistently high infection rates.
Four boroughs there – Preston, Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, and Hyndburn – are currently among England’s 10 worst areas for Covid-19 cases.
Other areas which will be covered by the tightened measures are Lancaster, Wyre, Fylde, Chorley, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Ribble Valley, Pendle and Rossendale.
But there will be an exemption for a small patch of Blackpool for reasons which remain unclear.
There is also now speculation that another big northern city, Leeds, could face new measures within the next few days.
That itself comes amid growing reports the government is considering replacing all local restrictions with a two week nationwide lockdown.
Referring to the new Lancashire restrictions, a post on the Lancashire County Council Twitter account said: "We are expecting an announcement later today [Friday] by Government on new measures to bring down the rate of Covid-19 infections.
"We are awaiting the full details and will let you know what it means for you and our county as soon as we can."
Government sources are reported to have told the Lancashire Live website that the decision has been made after council leaders and health bosses in the area asked for restrictions to be imposed.
But, to add to the confusion, at least one senior figure has said they did not want tighter measures.
Neil Shaw, chief executive of Rossendale Borough Council said: "To be clear, no leader in Rossendale has called for the introduction of tighter restrictions.
"The government may impose these at some point but we are making the case why they shouldn't."