Boris Johnson is expected to address the nation at the beginning of the week to make a major announcement.
Everything but nurseries, schools and universities and essential shops could be closed until December 1 to try and stop the deadly spread of coronavirus.
Boris Johnson is reported to be planning to take England into a full lockdown lasting until December.
The Prime Minister is said to have met with his Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Health Minister Matt Hancock for crunch talks this afternoon.
They came to the conclusion that more severe restrictions of freedoms are necessary due to the demand being placed on hospitals by rising Covid-19 cases, according to reports.
Mr Johnson is then said to have come to a reluctant conclusion that a full national lockdown for England until December was necessary.
No final decisions are said to have been made but Mr Johnson will address the nation early next week about the next steps of the battle against coronavirus, according to the reports.
It comes after government scientists presented him with “grim” data on the second wave.
And, crucially, the projections predict NHS beds will become overwhelmed with Covid patients.
Government medics have warned that some hospitals may not even have enough staff to cope with the extra patients on top of the normal winter strains on the NHS.
Insiders said the PM was likely to announce new nationwide curbs that will come into effect by the end of the week.
Pubs, bars and restaurants face being closed for weeks under the clampdown — which the Government is determined to avoid calling a new lockdown.
There is an ongoing debate within Whitehall over whether to impose national restrictions or toughen up local measures.
Options being considered are ramping up the current tiered system of Covid restrictions by adding a fourth level — dubbed Tier 3 Plus.
That has been suggested for the biggest hotspots — but some insiders prefer a blanket approach of the same restrictions across the country.
Earlier yesterday, the Government’s top scientists had left people in a confusion by calling for tougher curbs — as the R rate falls.
Now Sage experts believe the looming lockdown will have to last longer than two weeks to have the desired effect to protect the NHS and save lives.
Government scientists now believe it is inevitable the whole country will end up in lockdown if we are to avoid 800 deaths a day from coronavirus.
Earlier today it was reported that the Sage panel of experts is pushing Boris Johnson to U-turn again and call a national circuit break.
They are now convinced that without drastic action every region will eventually end up with at least Tier 3 restrictions anyway.
Sources say is not too late to “save Christmas” but a national lockdown longer than the originally suggested two-week circuit break is required.
The news comes at the end of a week in which coronavirus deaths in the UK have risen to levels last seen in May.
Today the Covid-19 death toll shot up by 274, while infections increased by more than 24,000.
This is the biggest Friday jump in deaths since May 29, when 274 fatalities were also recorded.