Fresh plans are being drawn up to add an extra level of restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 could see restaurants and non-essential shops shut in the event infection rates in England fail to drop.
Swathes of the North-East have been plunged into Tier 3 local lockdowns in recent weeks, which has seen pubs and bars close and a ban enforced on different households meeting.
Officials in Whitehall are now considering using short term, local circuit-breaker lockdowns to cut infection rates, while a fourth tier could be added to the Government's existing system, which rates local alert levels under medium, high and very high.
It comes as Professor Neil Ferguson suggested some students should be sent home from school to prevent further infections.
Tier 3 restrictions in the North, including in Manchester, mean pubs and bars have been forced to close and households told not to mix. Officials say they will be able to tell if those measures have been enough by mid-November
According to The I, sources in Whitehall expect it will be clear by mid November whether existing restrictions are working to reduce daily case numbers.
Wales entered a 'fire break' lockdown on Friday, which has seen all non-essential retail, leisure and hospitality businesses close until November 9.
Similar to the nationwide lockdown in March, Welsh residents have been told they can only leave home for a limited number of reasons, such as exercise, providing care or buying essentials.
A row has broken out over the sale of essential items after supermarkets were seen cordoning off aisles and covering up some products.
First Minister Mark Drakeford tweeted yesterday: 'We’ll be reviewing how the weekend has gone with the supermarkets and making sure that common sense is applied.
'Supermarkets can sell anything that can be sold in any other type of shop that isn't required to close. In the meantime, please only leave home if you need to.'
Lidl closed off all their 'non-essential' aisles in Porthmadog before 6pm on Friday, but First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford has said supermarkets can sell 'anything that can be sold in any other type of shop'
Meanwhile experts have said Scotland's 16-day circuit breaker, which has been extended by another week, had little effect on coronavirus infections - which are falling.
Nicola Sturgeon's scientific advisers themselves warned on Thursday it was 'too early to detect any impact on transmission from the restrictions introduced on October 9'.
Yesterday Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling led to the original nationwide lockdown in March, warned schools may have to shut to older pupils if household restrictions fail to have an impact.
The Government's tiered-programme does not currently allow for the closure of schools.
Professor Neil Ferguson said experts had been unable to see a definitive effect caused by Tier 3 measures, adding older pupils could be sent home from school to prevent infections
Prof Ferguson told BBC Radio 4: 'That (banning households mixing) should have a significant effect but as yet we have been