THE Government said a further 162 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday.

It brings the UK total to 46,717, 2,623 in the region.

As of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 23,254 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, 2,794 of them in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

ENGLAND’S four-week national lockdown could be extended beyond December 2, if coronavirus infection rates do not significantly fall

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said he believed the restrictions announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday evening would bring down the ‘R’ value but warned that people may have to stay at home for longer if not.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close from Thursday for four weeks across England, with furlough payments at 80-per cent extended for the duration of the new measures.

People will be allowed to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person but not indoors or in private gardens and will be able to travel to work if they cannot work from home.

Yet unlike in the lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic, schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.

The Prime Minister said the restrictions would end on December 2, when the Government would reintroduce local restrictions based on the latest data and trends.

But Cabinet Office Minister Mr Gove said it would be “foolish” to predict what would happen with the pandemic over the next four weeks and conceded the lockdown may have to be extended.

Asked during an interview on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday whether the national lockdown could be extended, he replied: “Yes.”

Mr Gove said: “We want to be in a position where we can – and I believe that this is likely to be the case – have an approach where if we bring down the rate of infection sufficiently we can reduce measures nationally and also reduce measures regionally.

“Because the regional approach is one that, wherever possible, we want to take because again we recognise it may be the case in the future that having reduced R below 1, having reduced national restrictions, we may see a specific upsurge in specific areas which will require specific regional measures.”

His warning was echoed by former chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport, who said there was, “obviously a possibility”, that the restrictions could last longer than the first lockdown.

THE Prime Minister said: “I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I’m truly, truly sorry for that – and that’s why we’re going to extend the furlough system through November.

“The furlough system was a success in the spring, it supported people in businesses in a critical time. We will not end it, we will extend furlough until December.”

He said the measures would be time-limited from November 5 to December 2, when restrictions would be eased and regions would go back into the tiered system.

He added: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together.”

It's an improvement on the support offered to places like Manchester when they were placed into Tier 3 last month.

Under the Job Support Scheme, which was expected to come into effect in November, the Government would provide just 67pc of normal salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

All shops deemed to be "non-essential" will close from next week.

This means all non-essential retail will close, including those that sell clothing, electronics, books, gifts and homewares.

Fashion chains, all pubs, bars and restaurants in England will shut but will be allowed to do takeaways and deliveries

Gyms are also set to close, as are salons, hairdressers and nail salons.

THERAPEUTIC drugs should be used to treat all coronavirus patients in hospital at serious risk of illness, not just those taking part in a national clinical trial, Tony Blair has urged.

The former Sedgefield MP and Prime Minister for a decade said there is “no safety issue” in giving potential treatments that are safe and meet a minimum level of efficacy to all patients in need.

Mr Blair said that, rather than offering therapeutic drugs “only to those in the Recovery trial”, co-ordinated by the University of Oxford, any “hospitalised patients at risk of serious illness” should be offered drugs that are safe.

In a foreword to a report on coronavirus by his institute, the ex-Labour leader said: “We should give these patients the drugs and track the data from them.

“There will be resistance to this, because it means altering the Recovery trial process, but this is a lesser risk than denying potentially life-saving drugs to those who need them.

“The AstraZeneca therapeutic drug, one of the most promising, is not part of the Recovery trial in the UK, but we should urgently investigate whether we can speed up its introduction, even with limited doses being available.”

The Recovery trial, which includes 176 UK hospital sites, found in June that a cheap steroid called dexamethasone could save the lives of people with severe Covid infection.

HEALTH minister Nadine Dorries has said children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.

Joeli Brearley, chief executive and founder of parental rights group Pregnant Then Screwed, described the update as a relief to “anxious” parents but felt the welfare of mothers and their children should have been thought about from the start.

Ms Dorries tweeted: “Children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.

“This will mean that a parent can see a friend or family member with their baby or young children.

“Children and adults who are dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, will also be included.

“The guidance will be updated to reflect this.”