THE government is preparing to enforce a TOTAL social lockdown across parts of northern Britain and potentially London to combat the coronavirus second wave, it has been reported.
All pubs and restaurants will be ordered to shut for two weeks while different households would be banned from socialising indoors under the emergency plan.
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But with the country experiencing a crippling economic downturn, shops and factories as well as schools will remain open.
Offices at which staff cannot work from home will also keep their doors open.
The social lockdown was an option presented to the cabinet’s strategy committee before last week’s fresh restrictions, which included a 10pm curfew bars and restaurants.
However, The Times reports the government held back from implementing the plan fearing the public was not ready for such draconian restrictions.
A senior Number 10 source said: “The nation and the party wasn’t ready for us to go any further last week.
"There wasn’t a wide enough understanding of how substantial the second wave could be.
“Unlike the first lockdown, nobody has seen pictures of body bags in Spain or France on the TV yet, which had a very powerful effect. You have to take people with you.
“Tougher measures on social interaction will have to come though. They’re inevitable in some parts if you look at the numbers.”
The new emergency measures have been drawn after local restrictions imposed on hotsports failed to reverse the infection rate in many towns in the North and Midlands.
Downing Street could impose the social lockdown in parts of North West and North East England as early as next week, it has been reported.
And London could also be slapped with the same restrictions as infections are rising fast across the capital.
The government believes a full national social lockdown can be avoided as the figures vary across regions.
Despite the threat of a social lockdown, data shows pubs and restaurants caused less than three per cent of coronavirus infections in the week before the 10pm curfew.
In fact, schools and care homes were responsible for more than two thirds of all positive tests, weekly figures from Public England have revealed.
The hospitality industry, which has been hit with a draconian government curfew, accounted for just 22 cases out of 772 recorded in the week leading up to September 20.
This comes as Burnley is England's new coronavirus hotspot with with 228 new cases in the seven days to September 23.
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Liverpool has the second-highest rate increasing from 131.1 to 243.8 - and recording 1,214 new cases.
London has been added to the Government's coronavirus "watch list" as Mayor Sadiq Khan warned the city is at a "tipping point".