The government is expected to place Liverpool under tough restrictions today as part of a three- tiered lockdown system.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is due to host a press conference at 6pm with chancellor Rishi Sunak, and chief medical officer Chris Whitty to announce the news.

The strictest of the three new alert levels, labelled “very high”, is expected to entail the closure of pubs, bars, casinos and gyms.

The tough new measures are understood to focus on drink-led venues, while allowing restaurants to remain open, The Times reports.

However other sources suggested restaurants may also be closed, with only takeaway meals allowed.

The strongest measures will be implemented for four weeks at a time before being reviewed, while local leaders will be offered the opportunity to go further with their own measures.

Curbs on households mixing, and strong guidance against making non-essential trips out of the local area, are also expected to be included in the “very high” alert level. Travel for work and school will still be permitted.

Greater Manchester and Lancashire are expected to avoid the most severe designation for now.