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Swathes of the North East of England are expected to be brought under local lockdown measures from Friday to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to local media reports - impacting hundreds of thousands.
The Northern Echo reports measures could include a ban on socialising between different households and a 10pm curfew on pubs, adding that Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland are all expected to be impacted.
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said "additional, temporary" measures are being planned to prevent another full lockdown - and that health secretary Matt Hancock is expected to make an announcement on the matter on Thursday morning.
He tweeted: "Some additional, temporary restrictions are being planned to prevent another full lockdown."
One Twitter user asked when the announcement would be made, adding that the "uncertainty creates lots of anxiety for people".
He replied: "We are waiting confirmation from government on the final version of the regulations; I am expecting an announcement by the Health Secretary at 11am tomorrow."
The most recent figures show Newcastle to have recorded a sharp increase in its weekly rate, up from 51.2 to 64.1, with 194 new cases in the seven days to September 13.
It comes after local measures in the likes of Greater Manchester and Birmingham have been put in place in a bid to address rising rates of infection.
He told ITV's Peston show: "The number of cases has been rising rapidly in many parts of the country, but in particular in the North East, and so a decision has been made to impose further restrictions there.
"And a full announcement will be made tomorrow and so people living in that part of the country should watch out for that. And the measures will come into play at midnight on Thursday evening.
"So, over the course of the day a full briefing will be made available to everybody including the councils and business community."
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: "We constantly monitor infection rates across the country and keep all measures under review in consultation with local leaders.
"Any changes to local restrictions will be announced in the usual way."
Additional reporting by agencies
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