HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out a second national lockdown this morning.

Declaring he'll "do what's necessary to keep people safe", Mr Hancock told Sky News that another nation-wide shutdown like the one earlier this year remains an option as a "last line of defence".

His comments come amid reports scientists advising the government proposed a two-week national lockdown next month to combat the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates…

  • WHO CAN GET A CORONAVIRUS TEST?

    The government website states that you can get a test for yourself if you have had Covid symptoms or if someone you live with has symptoms.

    You can also get tested if you have been told to take a test before surgery or if you work or study in an area where there has been an outbreak.

    The government tests are free.

  • HOW TO BOOK A CORONAVIRUS TEST

    You can order a free home test kit from the NHS website.

    There are a number of testing sites across the UK which you can book.

    You can also get tested in a NHS hospital, at a regional test centre in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, satellite centres, or at mobile testing units.

    For more information about those sites, visit the government website.

    The government advises to get a test done in the first five days of having symptoms.

  • TOTAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN LOCKDOWN SET TO RISE ABOVE 10 MILLION

    Tough new measures to control the spread of coronavirus are due to come into effect in the north east of England, taking the total number of people across the UK in lockdown to more than 10 million.

    The new restrictions will come into effect on Friday in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.

    Residents will be banned from socialising in homes or gardens with people outside their own households or support bubble, food and drink venues will be restricted to table service only and leisure and entertainment venues must also close at 10pm.

    The changes run alongside the England-wide six-person limit on social gatherings.

    It takes the total number of people under in areas under additional restrictions across the UK to more than 10 million, covering parts of Scotland, south Wales, the north west and north east of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

  • SAGE PROFESSOR BEGS BRITS TO BE CAREFUL

    Professor Catherine Noakes, a member of Sage, has warned “things are going to be awful” if Brits don't start being more careful in social settings.

    She said: “Folks we're close to a tipping point and if we don't pull back things are going to be awful.

    “Hands, face, space, ventilate and be really careful in social settings.

    “Highest risk are household gatherings and pubs and restaurants.

    “Please.”

  • MORE LOCKDOWNS LOOM

    Merseyside and Lancashire could be the next areas to go into lockdown after a reported surge in coronavirus cases.

    Meanwhile there has been a number huge rise in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 with more than 3,000 new cases reported on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, a ban in the North East on socialising with people from different households – along with a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants and restrictions on travel – came in to effect at midnight.

    From today, new lockdown restrictions apply to two million Brits living in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.

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