The UK is “now seeing a second wave” of Covid-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, adding, “It’s been inevitable we’d see it in this country.”
Mr Johnson said he did not “want to go into bigger lockdown measures” but that tighter social distancing restrictions might be necessary.
Earlier, new rules were confirmed for Lancashire, Merseyside, parts of the Midlands and West Yorkshire.
It also comes as the UK recorded another 4,322 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“Clearly when you look at what is happening, you’ve got wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in,” the PM said, referring to new measures introduced on Monday.
He added that “the British people have done an amazing job – they’ve brought that peak down by discipline” but that “people find it difficult to keep this up, it’s difficult to maintain that discipline for a long time”.
Speaking in Oxfordshire, Mr Johnson continued: “As we look at this particular curve and what is happening now, clearly we are going to keep everything under review. I don’t want to get into a second national lockdown at all, it is the last thing anybody wants.
“I don’t want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all, we want to keep schools open and it is fantastic the schools have gone back in the way they have. We want to keep the economy open as far as we possibly can, we want to keep businesses going.
“The only way we can do that is, obviously, if people follow the guidance.”
Earlier, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the government was considering a short period of tighter rules that could be announced in the next week.
Described by the government as a “circuit-break”, the measures being considered could involve re-introducing restrictions in public spaces for a period of a few weeks. Schools and workplaces would stay open.
Ideas suggested by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) include closing some parts of the hospitality sector.
Meanwhile, new measures to curb the spread of the virus have been introduced across parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire.
This includes Lancashire (excluding Blackpool), Merseyside and the Cheshire boroughs of Warrington and Halton.
New restrictions are also being put in place in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire, and all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.
Some areas of West Yorkshire had already been subject to restrictions implemented at the start of August but they were eased. They are now subject to these new rules.
In total, nearly 4.7 million people will be affected by the new restrictions, which ban separate households from meeting each other at home or in private gardens.
Covid-19: Second wave now hitting the UK, says Boris Johnson – BBC News