More areas of England could be put into Tier 4 from Boxing Day.

Reports suggested ministers would meet today to decide whether more parts of the country would be put under the toughest restrictions amid fears over the spread of a new mutant strain of coronavirus.

It came as France lifted its travel ban and allowed journeys from the UK to resume, but said those seeking to travel must have a negative coronavirus test result.

The Daily Telegraph reported local leaders and health officials in Birmingham met on Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of the city being moved into Tier 4, while areas in lower tiers could be moved up to Tier 3.

READ: The areas moving into Tier 3 and Tier 4 on Boxing Day

READ: Burnley and Pendle could be first areas to enter Tier 4 if infection rates don't fall

Genomic researchers have found the new variant, which is said to be 70 percent more infectious than previous strains, has already spread around the UK, with cases identified in Wales and Scotland.

Health chiefs in Cumbria have said the new variant is in the county and could be behind sharp increases in new cases, while Lancashire’s director of public health said there was a “high likelihood” the new variant was in the county.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has written to the Prime Minister to say his party would back any Government moves to tighten restrictions if that is what scientists recommended.