Lancashire will be placed under tighter lockdown measures with an announcement confirming the move tomorrow, Sky News understands.
The new coronavirus restrictions are expected to exclude Blackpool and will mirror those which come into force in the North East at midnight tonight.
It will include the city of Preston, along with towns including Blackburn, Burnley, Lancaster and Morecambe.
As with the North East, new local rules will feature a 10pm curfew for bars and pubs and a ban on people mixing with others outside their household.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the measures for the North East in a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday, following government talks with local councils and MPs.
They will take effect from Friday in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.
The restrictions will include:
- Residents being told not to socialise with people outside their household or social bubble
- Table service only in bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants
- All bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes and other leisure and entertainment venues to close between 10pm and 5am
The UK recorded another 3,395 COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 21 more deaths.
Mr Hancock told MPs: “Like many other countries around the world, we’re continuing to see a concerning rise in cases.
“And this week the number of patients in mechanical ventilator beds has risen above 100 for the first time since July.
“The battle against coronavirus is not over.”
It is also being reported that Merseyside is to be placed under the same lockdown restrictions due to a soaring number of infections in some areas.
A government announcement is expected tomorrow, according to the Liverpool Echo.
It comes amid an escalating crisis around coronavirus testing across swathes of the country.
In scenes of “absolute pandemonium” and “chaos”, drivers queued for hours as they tried to get a COVID-19 test at one site in London only to be turned away.
Meanwhile, the head of the government’s Test and Trace service has said she doesn’t believe “anybody was expecting to see the really sizeable increase in demand” for tests.
Baroness Dido Harding’s remarks came after some residents in hotspots for the disease complained they were finding it difficult to get tested.
Reports have flooded in of people being told tests were unavailable or had to be done hundreds of miles away from where they lived.