The government has announced that the next easing of lockdown can resume from Saturday - except for in Greater Manchester where local restrictions are still in place.

But what is set to change for all residents across England is the introduction of new enforcement measures to target flouters.

Fines for repeatedly not wearing face coverings where mandated will be significantly increased in the coming weeks, and on the spot fines for hosting or facilitating illegal gatherings of more than 30 people will also come into force.

Currently, fines for not wearing a face covering where required are £100 (or £50 if paid in 14 days).

In future, repeat offenders will see their fines doubled on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

The clampdown on illegal gatherings of more than 30 people could see those responsible hit with spot fines of up to £10,000, according to a No. 10 source.

Police forces across England and Wales have already stepped up patrols to prevent illegal gatherings in areas of concern – such as in Greater Manchester, where deployments have sometimes been larger than on New Year’s Eve.

The announcement comes as a number of remaining aspects of England’s culture, sport, leisure and business sectors will be permitted to reopen from this weekend in parts of England.

The economy will further open up from August 15 - except for where there are local restrictions

Two weeks ago the Office for National Statistics had expressed concerns about a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive. The situation now appears to have levelled off.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus, but we must remain focused and we cannot be complacent. That is why we are strengthening the enforcement powers available to use against those who repeatedly flout the rules.

“At every stage I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional and that it relies on continued progress against the virus.

“Today, we are able to announce some further changes which will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed. However, as I have always said, we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus."

Face coverings are not compulsory for children under 11, people with breathing difficulties, people with any disability that makes it difficult for them to wear or remove a face covering and those travelling with or assisting somebody who relies on lip reading to communicate.

More detail on the new enforcement measures will be set out in the coming week.