Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Monday a nationwide lockdown for England which could be introduced on Wednesday and last until December 1, according to The Times.
Earlier reports on Friday suggested Tier 4 restrictions would be imposed, putting half the country's population into lockdown, but meetings between the PM, ministers and health experts decided on the need for a more stringent move.
A national lockdown still needs to be signed off on by Cabinet, but it appears likely to be approved.
The Government is "dithering" on a short circuit-breaker and whether to follow the science, according to Labour's shadow business minister Lucy Powell.
It would provide a chance to get the virus under control and improve the test, track and trace, she said.
She told BBC Breakfast: "The Government's dithering on this and its refusal to follow the science means we have missed the half-term holiday when it could have had its most impact.
Will pubs and restaurants shut?
It is likely pubs, bars and restaurants, casinos, gyms, leisure centres and other non-essential businesses face being closed.
In tier 3 currently, pubs and bars have been forced to close unless they serve substantial meals.
Betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos have shut, and people have been told to avoid travelling outside their local area.
Will 'non-essential' shops?
Essential shops will stay open but it is unclear what will happen to non-essential businesses.
All shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores, will be closed.
Announcing the first lockdown in March, Mr Johnson said: "You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.
"If you don't follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings."
Will there be travel restrictions?
People will be urged to avoid travelling outside of their area and staying overnight elsewhere will be banned.
That is currently the case in tier 3 areas anyway.
What will happen to schools?
It is still to be finalised, but it is likely everything will be closed except essential shops and education facilities, which includes nurseries, schools and universities.
Tougher measures for the most affected regions are also being considered.
The UK, Italy, Spain and France imposed national lockdowns when badly hit by the first wave.
They were able to ease restrictions in early summer, including reopening travel involving countries on "safe" lists, but this was followed by rises in cases in the late summer, which have now increased dramatically, bringing the push for the lockdowns to be reimposed.
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