Pubs and restaurants could be subject to an arbitrary 10pm curfew in North-East England this weekend as areas including Newcastle, Sunderland and County Durham are due to be put under new local lockdown measures.

Although the extent of the restrictions are yet to be confirmed, it is understood that alongside the curfew, measures could also include a ban on mixing between households, and people being encouraged to avoid using public transport for non-essential journeys.

Robert Jenrick, housing, communities and local government secretary, confirmed the plans – which will impact approximately 1.5 million people – on Wednesday evening.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston programme he said: “The number of cases has been rising rapidly in many parts of the country, but particularly in the north-east, and so a decision has been made to impose further restrictions there.

“A full announcement will be made tomorrow, so people living in that part of the country should watch out for that, and the measures come into play at midnight on Thursday evening. Over the course of the day a full briefing will be made available to councils and the business community.”

The new restrictions come after prime minister Boris Johnson told The Sun that further curfew measures would be needed if his ‘rule of six’ isn’t obeyed.

“I remember when the pubs used to close at 11 anyway in the old days,” he said. “That sort of thing, we will be looking at it.”

“We don’t want to go there. We want this package to work,” he added. “We are urging people to be cautious. We want people to be disciplined to get the R down.”