Scientific advisers have warned ministers that they believe the new variant of COVID-19 is deploying faster than previous series, Sky News understands.
Government scientists are expected to meet next week to devise a strategy for how Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions may be strengthened in response.
It comes amid reports that cabinet ministers were to meet tonight to discuss evidence that showed the new pressure was spreading faster than previously thought.
Boris Johnson was reportedly holding urgent talks with his cabinet about possible travel restrictions for people in London and the South East.
The news of the meeting prompted that a press conference could be convened on Saturday to announce new guidelines on travel over the Christmas period.
Identify the “new variant” of COVID-19 – which is believed to be causing the faster spread in the South East announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week.
More than 1,000 cases of snoring have been detected, “mostly in the south of England,” Mr Hancock told the House of Commons.
He said the new variable had been spreading faster than the current pressure of it corona-virus and is believed to fuel the “very sharp, abstract rise” in issues across the South East.
But he tried to allay fears, saying there was currently no evidence that the new variant would not respond to COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out nationwide.
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And, he said, “there was currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease”.
The health secretary said the rapid rate of the new spread could make this variable the strongest in the country.
“The best way to describe it is to think of a large oak tree, and then a small branch that will break from that tree. Then that branch is going to be the main stock and the main artery of that tree. , “he explained.
Mr Hancock said government scientists were studying the new variant at its Porton Down facility.
A spokesman for the prime minister said he was unable to comment immediately on reports of possible tensions.
Mr Johnson said on Friday he hoped England would not have to enter the third lockout after Christmas, as several experts have warned it is possible.