Despite admitting coronavirus rates are in a 'bad place' all over the country, the Government is resisting another national lockdown.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government's 'very firm view' is that a short national circuit-breaker lockdown would be the wrong approach, saying “you can’t have a stop-start country”.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Jenrick said: "We don’t want to create a second national lockdown.

"We know that has some effect on bearing down on the virus but we also know it’s immensely disruptive in other regards to people’s lives and livelihoods and broader health and wellbeing, so we will do everything we can to avoid that situation.

"We will continue with our localised but proportionate approach on taking action where the virus is strongest but you can see from those figures that the virus is in a bad place in all parts of the country.

“The approach of trying to bear down on it where it is most concentrated I think continues to be the best way forward because despite the fact the virus is rising across the country it is very concentrated in some places nonetheless.”

Mr Jenrick said the new lockdowns in other European nations, including France, will have 'long-term scarring effects' on people, adding: "At the moment it is our very firm view that that is not the right approach for the country, it is not a short-term measure, it is likely to be for a number of weeks.

“If it succeeded it is likely then needed to be repeated regularly – you can’t have a stop-start country where businesses are closing, people are losing their jobs, then they are having to restart again, the harm to people’s mental health and broader wellbeing, I think, would be immense.”

However, Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said the data from the React coronavirus study suggests 'we need to think about changing the approach'.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "There’s an overall background change and then for whatever reason, some regions, some geographical areas, are just a little bit ahead, the virus is a little bit better in those communities.

“So it does suggest that we need to think about changing the approach. Because we’re getting to the stage where we have to see prevalence go down.

“I think what our study shows is there would be genuine benefits to some kind of national policy.

“In that we could prevent the pattern in the south turning into the current pattern in the north and bring about a reversal in the north as quickly as possible.”