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Brits could face an even tougher lockdown, with 10pm curfews and pubs shut, in just two weeks, the government has warned.
Ministers have said they are determined to keep schools open even in case of a full second national lockdown, but a number of different measures are reportedly on the table.
It comes after Boris Johnson imposed a "Rule of Six" banning large gatherings in a bid to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
But ministers and officials have claimed they are ready to take stricter steps to control the spread of Covid-19.
The MailOnline reports that these options include 10pm curfews and closing pubs again, despite how controversial this move could be.
One government science adviser told ITV: "Lockdown is the only thing that we know works, to be frank."
The move is in response to fears the disease is on the edge of spiralling out of control again as cases skyrocket.
New infections are currently spiking at more than 3,000 a day, mainly among younger people who are less likely to be badly affected.
But hospitalisations are also on the rise again, triggering panic about a second wave.
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The government's flagship testing system has been heavily criticised after many patients were forced to travel miles from their home, while the return of schools has led to a huge rise in demand from parents wanting their children tested.
On Monday, the PM imposed a "Rule of Six" banning larger gatherings, supposedly following the example of Belgium.
A senior member of the government told ITV's Robert Peston there was "no possibility of us waiting for the death rate to rise before we act".
They added that the government will reassess whether the new law has controlled the situation in two weeks time.
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But whatever happens, schools are likely to remain open for fear of further harming children's education prospects.
A leading government scientific adviser is reported as saying: "I think that if we want to keep schools open, we probably have to give serious consideration to a wide range of other measures to stop a major second wave.
"And we have to think about doing that right now – which we are starting to do."
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock has come under fire from many in his own party for what some see as unfair restrictions on everyday life.
On Tuesday, the minister refused to give in to pressure to make young children exempt from the rules in England in order to save Christmas.
In Scotland and Wales, children under 12 are not included in the "Rule of Six" counting.
- Boris Johnson
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