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17 September 2020, 08:06 | Updated: 17 September 2020, 08:17
Pubs and restaurants could be closed at 10pm to stop a second wave of coronavirus.
The UK could be facing a second lockdown within weeks if the coronavirus infection rate doesn’t drop, experts have said.
On Monday the ‘rule of six’ came into force which bans people from meeting indoors and outdoors in groups larger than six people.
But if this fails to work, Ministers are reportedly considering closing offices and shutting pubs early in order to avoid a second wave.
A leading scientific advisor told ITV: “Lockdown is the only thing that we know works, to be frank.
“I think that if we want to keep schools open, we probably have to give serious consideration to a wide range of other measures to stop a major second wave.
“And we have to think about doing that right now – which we are starting to do.”
According to ITV, the government is contemplating ‘pretty much every social distancing measure’ other than school closures.
A member of Sage told them: “My big worry now is that we might be too late again to avert a major second wave.
“If we wait for deaths to go up again before taking decisive action we will be in trouble again.”
While a member of the Government added: “There is no possibility of us waiting for the death rate to rise before we act.”
This comes ahead of further localised measures which will be imposed across areas of the north-east from Friday, including pub curfews.
In a Commons statement, Matt Hancock will reportedly announce a ban in the region on socialising with people from different households and a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants.
Following a dramatic spike in infections, the new lockdown rules are set to apply in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.
Meanwhile in South Wales, pubs, bars and restaurants in Rhondda Cynon Taf will close at 11pm from Friday.
The lockdown measures come amid a nationwide shortage of Covid-19 tests, with thousands of people showing symptoms unable to get checked.
And business leaders have also told The Telegraph that this will mean many employers may also be forced to shut their offices.
Matthew Fell, the UK chief policy director of the CBI, said: "If we are to successfully encourage more people into their workplace safely, then the test and trace system will be a key component.
"Reports of people being unable to access tests in their area or waiting too long to get the results will be deeply frustrating for individuals and businesses alike.”