Tougher lockdown measures banning people in North East England from meeting with other households in any setting come into force from midnight.
Anyone found breaking the rules face a £200 fine even for a first offence, which keeps on doubling up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offenders.
It has been illegal for two households to meet inside or in a garden, but the measures were ramped up to include pubs, restaurants and all other public venues.
The Health Secretary said tougher restrictions – covering Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham – were needed following a ‘sharp’ rise of cases, with more than 100 infections per 100,000 people.
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Making the announcement in the Commons, Matt Hancock told MPs: ‘Unfortunately the number of cases continues to rise sharply.
‘The incidence rate across the area is now over 100 cases per 100,000. We know that a large number of these infections are taking place in indoor settings outside the home.
‘And so at the request of the local councils, with whom we have been working closely, we will introduce legal restrictions on indoor mixing between households in any setting.’
He said these steps are not taken ‘lightly’ but they must happen now as swift action is more likely to bring the virus under control.
The Government said that, as of 9am on Monday, there had been a further 4,044 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, taking the overall number to 439,013.
A further 13 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday.
It comes as the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus passed one million, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.
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