Social gatherings of more than 6 people are to be banned from Monday, as the government responds to an increase in Coronavirus cases.
Reporting in recent days has shown the highest increase in Coronavirus infections since May, with nearly 3000 cases reported daily.
The increase in cases has likely been fuelled by younger people, with few hospitalizations and deaths reported, however, there are fears that the virus will spread to older and more vulnerable people, resulting in a second wave.
The current limit on gatherings was 30 people, however, from Monday, this will be reduced to just 6.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out the new guidance at a press conference on Wednesday.
Number 10 has announced that the new guidance will apply to any gatherings, either indoors or outdoors, with a number of exceptions for sports, schools and businesses, provided they are COVID-secure. Support bubbles for vulnerable people, where more than six people are required, will also be allowed.
The new government rules can be enforced through £100 fines or through dispersal by the police.
In an excerpt from Mr Johnson’s statement, that he is expected to make tomorrow, he said: “We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.”
“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”
This will be a significant blow to the governments’ plans to reopen the economy and encourage businesses to send workers back to the offices, a hallmark of the government’s policy in recent weeks.