Town hall officials have called for a ban on sleepovers during school holidays even in areas under Tier 1 restrictions.

Officials in Northamptonshire have written to parents urging them not to allow their children to have pyjama parties during half-term next week.

But because areas of Northamptonshire are currently under Tier 1 restrictions, the rules allow groups of up to six people to meet indoors and outdoors, meaning children could have a sleepover without breaking the restrictions - as long as the rule of six is in place.

Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire, asked parents to "take action" and be "firm" in a bid to prevent further spread of Covid-19.

She also said she wanted to use half term as a "circuit breaker".

Lucy Wightman asked parents to be 'firm' and 'take action'

The Labour Party has called for a two-week circuit breaker lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus, however Boris Johnson ruled it out.

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds told the Sunday Mirror: “Cabinet ministers are blocking a circuit breaker because they don’t understand – or care – about the multi-billion-pound cost of doing nothing.

“This stubbornness doesn’t just put public health at risk. It means more job losses, shuttered businesses and livelihoods in ruin.”

In her letter to parents, Ms Wightman wrote: "I’m asking you not to have sleepovers over half term to protect your children, their friends, and your parents as well as yourselves from Covid-19.

Meeting indoors is allowed under Tier 1 restrictions as long as the rule of six is in place

"I’m asking you to take action and be firm this half term because I know that the people of Northamptonshire rise to a challenge, I’ve seen it time and time again during this pandemic."

She also urged parents to meet other people outside but avoid mixing with different households indoors by inviting their children's friends to stay over.

But local MP Peter Bone said he would not want to impose any additional restrictions on people in the area, calling the measures suggested by Ms Wightman "unnecessary".

He said: "People have to comply with what tier they're in and as far as I'm aware, as long as they're abiding by the rule of six there is absolutely no reason why you can't have sleepovers.

"I want everyone to use common sense, I want to use social distancing and think of hands, face, space."

Cases in the UK have been rising in recent weeks

Molly Kingsley from parenting group Us for Them added: “Once again the impact of these rules on these children means they are being denied basic chances of socialising and making friends.

“For many meeting outside won’t be an option."

In areas under Tier 1 restrictions - also referred to as medium - people can meet in a group of up to six people from multiple households either indoors or outdoors.

Pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm.

It comes as new figures suggested the number of new daily coronavirus cases across England has doubled in a fortnight but the rate of growth may be slowing down.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics infection survey estimates there was an average of 35,200 new cases per day of Covid-19 in the community in England between October 10 and 16.

This is up 26 per cent from an estimated 27,900 new cases per day for the period from October 2 to 8 and just over double the 17,200 new cases per day from September 25 to October 1.

Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford, said the most recent figures - looking at the increase from 27,900 to 35,200 cases per day - suggest the rate of growth of the epidemic may be slowing down.

Another 20,530 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, according to the latest government data.

The total number of coronavirus cases recorded in the country is 830,998.

A further 224 people have also died within 28 days of testing positive, bringing the total number of fatalities to 44,571.