Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a second national lockdown for England as the UK passed one million Covid-19 cases. From BBC News latest
Non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close for a month, sources told the BBC.
But unlike the restrictions in the spring, schools and colleges are to be allowed to stay open.
It comes as documents suggested the UK was on course for a much higher death toll than during the first wave.
The lockdown is also expected to include restrictions on travel and is due to come into force on Thursday, lasting until 2 December, BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said.
The prime minister is due to lead a news conference later, after holding a cabinet meeting to discuss the coronavirus response.
He is set to be joined by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance for the briefing.
The UK recorded another 21,915 confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,011,660.
Another 326 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive test.
The UK is the ninth country to reach the milestone of a million cases – after the US, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia.
But the true number of infections is expected to be higher due to a lack of widespread testing at the start of the pandemic.
Mr. Johnson has so far resisted pressure to introduce nationwide restrictions, saying they would be “disastrous” for the UK’s finances and opting instead for a three-tiered system targeting local areas in England.
Ahead of the news conference, school and university unions called for education institutions to be closed and for teaching to move online in another national lockdown.
The National Education Union said it would be “self-defeating” to ignore how schools helped to spread the virus.
And “the health and safety of the country is being put at risk” by the insistence on keeping in-person teaching on campuses, the University and College Union said.
A new lockdown would heap more pressure on finance minister Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England to increase their already huge support for the UK economy, the world’s sixth-biggest. The economy slumped a record 20% in the spring and has been struggling to maintain its recovery.
The Times newspaper said Johnson might announce that only essential shops, nurseries, schools and universities will remain open in a month-long lockdown. Johnson’s office declined to comment. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland run their own pandemic policies.