Tighter rules on social mixing announced for four new areas

Tougher coronavirus restrictions are being imposed on the Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said residents in the areas will be urged not to socially mix with people from different households – except in outdoor spaces like parks and outdoor hospitality settings.

And he warned against “all but essential travel” – meaning people can still go to work and school.

The government has not confirmed when the changes will come into effect.

Mr Hancock said the measures are needed because “in some parts of the country, the virus is spreading fast”.

But the second spike in COVID-19 cases is “highly localised”, he claimed, adding recent actions are having a “positive impact”.