PUBS, restaurants, and non-essential shops could be shuttered again in Covid hotspots under emergency plans to bring back the tiers system.
Officials have drawn up a blueprint which could see areas with severe outbreaks plunged back into the highest level of restrictions.
Will England go into local lockdowns?
No 10 is said to be leaning more towards the reimposition of local lockdowns than delaying the June 21 freedom date for the whole country.
Ministers are privately cautious about the possibility of returning to local measures, but Boris Johnson has insisted he wants the country to move together.
Hospitality and non-essential shops would have to close, with businesses being handed £18,000 grants to cope.
And people in those areas would be ordered to stay at home once more, according to The Times.
One government advisor warned that the chances all restrictions being lifted on June 21 are “close to nil”.
Putting back the roadmap would mean more compensation having to be paid to mass venues such as nightclubs and festivals.
Will the tiered system return?
Today No10 was asked if local measures may include a specific tier system like the one which was in place last year.
It included a medium, high, very high and stay at home alert system, with different rules for different areas across the system.
Tier 4 see people told to stay at home in essentially another lockdown.
Tier 3 meant Brits were banned from mixing inside from others outside their household, and pubs and restaurants were shut up.
But as of the third lockdown, which was announced at the start of January, national measures across England replaced those.
In Scotland they have returned to a form of tiers, with Glasgow and Moray in higher restrictions than the rest of the country thanks to rising cases there.
Up there you can't mix inside homes, but seeing others in pubs and cafes is allowed. And you cannot leave the area for the moment either.
A No10 spokesperson was asked today if a possible return to local measures may mean a return to the tiers system.
He replied: "Well I don't want to sort of get ahead of where we are at the moment and start getting into hypothetical situations.
"As the Prime Minister's set out we've moved as a country in step three, albeit with very targeted increases in search vaccinations and testing in these areas where we're seeing rises.
"That's what we wanted to proceed with if at all possible, but we don't want to rule anything out.
"And I think until we have more data and more evidence we won't be making those judgements."
What areas are worst affected?
The Indian variant is spreading across the UK and cases of the strain have doubled in a week with surge testing having been rolled out in several areas.
There are several areas in the North West of England where testing has now been deployed after cases were found.
One expert today said the Indian variant "clearly has been out-competing" the Kent variant in a number of areas around the UK.
The Kent variant, known as the B.1.1.7 variant was one of the main contributing factors to the third national coronavirus lockdown.
The B1.617.2 variant of concern is beginning to spread increasingly rapidly in certain areas across the country and decisive action is being taken to further control its spread.
Cases have more than doubled in the space of seven days from 520 last week to 1,313 this, sparking alarm in Whitehall.
When it comes to testing for the Indian variant, surge testing has been rolled out in Bolton in Greater Manchester, Sefton in Merseyside and Blackburn and Darwen in Lancashire.
It was previously reported that cases of the virus had also been detected in London, particularly in Tower Hamlets.
And while surge testing is currently taking place in several areas across the capital, these have been specifically rolled out to catch cases of the South African variant.
But the Department of Health said this didn't rule out the surge testing also catching cases of the Indian variant if they were detected.
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