The health secretary said there would be no return to the full lockdown seen in March, stressing restrictions would be “different to last time”.
But he could not say whether pubs will be ordered to shut by the weekend and indicated that Boris Johnson would be setting out new restrictions on Tuesday.
It comes amid a surge in Covid-19, which the prime minister has dubbed the beginning of a “second wave” and ahead of a televised briefing on infection rates from chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
Asked by Philip Schofield on ITV’s This Morning whether Britons would be drinking in the pub this weekend, Hancock said: “We will be absolutely clear about the changes we need to make in the very, very near future.”
He added: “It’s not a no, and it’s not a yes, we’ve been working on this all weekend, we haven’t taken the final decisions about what we want to do in response to the surge that we’ve seen in the last two weeks.
'The really sad thing about this virus is that it thrives on the things that make life worth living', Health Secretary Matt Hancock tells @Schofe and @hollywills.— This Morning (@thismorning) September 21, 2020
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Whitty is expected to say the UK stands at a “critical point” in the coronavirus pandemic and warned that the data on infections is “heading in the wrong direction”.
On Friday, the “R” rate jumped again to between 1.1 and 1.4 and daily infection numbers peaked over 4,000 last week for the first time since May.
Millions of people are already living under some form of restrictions under the government’s “whack-a-mole” local lockdown strategy.
But amid failures in the test and trace system, the prime minister is expected to announce...