England may be split into three different lockdown tiers next week as part of the British government's efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Sky News reports.
The so-called Alert Level 1 lockdown system will reportedly pertain to restrictions currently in place across England, including the "rule of six" gatherings inside and outside households, the wearing of face masks, and the 10 p.m. curfew on hospitality businesses.
Alert Level 2 is expected to be imposed on specific geographical areas or nationally if a rise in coronavirus cases cannot be contained by local authorities.
Sky News cited unnamed sources as saying that tier two-related restrictions would be the same as those currently in place in northeastern England and Merseyside County, where household mixing in homes or gardens, as well as household mixing in hospitality settings are banned.
The strictest, Alert Level 3 will reportedly be triggered if measures from the previous level fail to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The sources claimed that pubs, restaurants, and leisure facilities are expected to be closed in those parts of England put under tier three. People living there will reportedly be ordered not to have any social contact with anyone outside their household in any setting.
The claims followed UK media reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a full-fledged Tory war as he considers closing hospitality venues in northern England to tackle the spread of COVID-19, following Scotland's 16-day ban on drinking indoors in pubs.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, for his part, told Sky News that the government is "considering a range of different options" and said ministers are trying to take a "regional and proportionate approach" when grappling with soaring infections in England's North East and North West.
He spoke after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in late September that the cabinet is not excluding a full second national lockdown amid the increase in new coronavirus cases in the UK.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has increased to 544,279, with 42,515 fatalities, according to the World Health Organisation's latest situation report.