The government is reportedly planning to ban all socialising across much of northern Britain and London in order to combat a second wave of coronavirus.

Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially to slow the spread.

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any new national lockdown would threaten jobs, livelihoods and human contact.

The report, seen by The Times, added that households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order.

Residents of Bolton, Greater Manchester, are under further restrictions as the area continues to record the highest rate in England

Britain had last week imposed new measures that required people to work from home where possible.

Downing Street had also ordered restaurants and bars to close early to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of Covid-19, with new restrictions lasting probably six months.

Schools and shops will be allowed to remain open, along with factories and offices at which staff could not work from home, the Times added, citing a senior government source.

Leeds students continue to party

It comes after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said university students should be able to return home to their families at Christmas if the country "pulls together" and observes the new coronavirus rules.

The Government is under pressure to guarantee young people are not confined to their halls of residence over the festive period because of Covid-19 outbreaks on campuses.

Thousands of students are currently self-isolating in their rooms following a surge in cases at institutions including Glasgow, Manchester Metropolitan and Edinburgh Napier.

A university security guard takes the details of a student leaving the halls at Manchester Metropolitan University

Mr Dowden also insisted there was "definitely science" behind the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants - despite a scientist advising the Government saying he had "never heard" the measure discussed at Sage meetings.

Videos posted on social media on Saturday evening suggested the early closing times were leading to street parties in city centres.

Infectious disease modelling expert Professor Graham Medley said on Saturday he did not recall the curfew being discussed by Sage.

An estimated 17.8 million people - more than a quarter of the UK population - will be under tougher coronavirus restrictions later on Sunday as new measures are introduced in Cardiff and Swansea from 6pm.

The Welsh Government also announced that Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Monday.

The Government said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

A further 17 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday.

Tory backbenchers, meanwhile, have continued to press the Government to give MPs a chance to vote on coronavirus measures before they come into force, with MP Steve Baker warning that "liberty dies" with the Government "exercising draconian powers" without parliamentary scrutiny.