England imposes its biggest ever regional lockdown to curb rise in Covid-19 cases

From midnight (UK time), England’s biggest regional lockdown will be imposed to try and curb the rapid rise in Covid-19 infections in the country.

People walk with bags after shopping in the UK. Source: Associated Press

Almost two million people’s movements and lifestyle will be restricted again under the new lockdown measures for seven areas in northeast England.

UK’s Health Secretary said the government had to quickly act after growing concerns over the rapid rise in the number of infections over the last two weeks.

"Data says we must act now so we can control the virus and keep people safe," Matt Hancock explained in parliament.

He stressed the restrictions were also to protect the elderly and the vulnerable.

The new measures will see a ban on socialising, table service only in restaurants and a curfew will be enforced for pubs and bars to close by 10pm.

Meanwhile, 250,000 people in south Wales are also back in lockdown after high numbers of infections. People will not be able to enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse.

Pubs, bars and restaurants must shut by 11pm daily and locals are banned from meeting people outside their own households.