MATT Hancock has refused to rule out further lockdown restrictions in England.

Speaking on ITV's This Morning, the Health Secretary was asked whether landlords would be told to shut this weekend.

"We will be absolutely clear about the changes we need to make in the very, very near future," Mr Hancock said.

"It's not a no, and it's not a yes," he said.

He also said that we must act now to save Christmas.

"The more we can control the virus now and stop the spread now, the easier it's going to be to have a Christmas that's as close to normal as possible," he said.

News Shopper: Matt Hancock on This Morning todayMatt Hancock on This Morning today

This morning, Professor Chris Whitty will warn that Britain stands at a "critical point" in the coronavirus pandemic, potentially laying the ground for tough new controls in an urgent attempt to halt the surge in infections.

In a televised briefing expected at around 11am, the Chief Medical Officer for England will say the country faces a "very challenging winter", with the current trend heading in "the wrong direction".

Boris Johnson spent the weekend with senior ministers and advisers discussing what action to take as the rise in the number of new cases showed no sign of slowing.

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It is thought the Prime Minister could set out new measures in a press conference as early as Tuesday.

This morning, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has delivered a similar message, saying: "It is clear we’re just a few weeks behind what we’re seeing elsewhere in Europe.

"You only have to look at what’s happening in France, particularly in Spain, and you can see that things have taken off there including, I’m afraid, deaths.

"So it is very important that we do everything we can to bear down on this."

Pubs and restaurants are already closing at 10pm across large areas of the country including the North East and Bolton.

During the day they are also restricted to either takeaways or table service only.

It's understood No10 is now looking at whether to implement a similar policy England -wide, but no final decisions have been taken.

Close contact with others indoors can increase the spread of the disease and after a few pints it is harder to maintain social distancing.