LIVERPOOL is "days away" from a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown as coronavirus cases in the city continue to rise.
In the last seven days, there have been 1,306 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Merseyside – up from 577 the previous week.
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A so-called circuit-breaker could involve the closure of pubs and restaurants and a ban on people from different households mixing.
Liverpool's mayor Joe Anderson said the outbreak will continue to grow if restrictions remain the same.
He told The Telegraph it was "only a matter of days" before the circuit-breaker was introduced.
Mr Anderson: "For me it is only a matter of time, because the virus isn't able to be controlled in the city with the restrictions we have now.
"We need a 'circuit-breaker' or stricter lock down to try stop the virus spreading.
"If we can have the severest measures of lockdown now we may arrest the increase and start to bring it down by the end of October, so that in the lead up to Christmas we can get some normality."
A senior Labour MP also said that an announcement on stricter measures for Merseyside would be coming soon.
But Tory MP Damien Moore, from Southport, questioned how an entire city which attracts outside workers could be locked down from the rest of the country.
He said: "You can't lock down the whole of the region. I don't know, personally, how you would make it work."
A government source confirmed that Number 10 is in discussions with local politicians in Merseyside.
They said: "We are keeping a very close eye on it and if there is somewhere that additional measures are brought in it is likely to be in that area."
This comes after reports that vast swathes of northern England and possibly London could be placed into an emergency "social lockdown" if infection rates continue to rise.
All pubs and restaurants could be ordered to shut for a fortnight and different households banned from socialising indoors under the emergency plan.
A senior Number 10 source told The Times: "Tougher measures on social interaction will have to come though. They’re inevitable in some parts if you look at the numbers.”
The UK has suffered 42,072 deaths and 446,156 infections since the outbreak of Covid-19 earlier this year.
On Friday the coronavirus R rate went up again across the UK – and could be as high as 1.5, experts warned.
Government scientists say the epidemic is continuing to grow with the Covid-19 reproduction rate now somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5.
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