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Boris Johnson has been faced with the difficult decision of whether to place millions under a stricter lockdown in the North.
On Tuesday he warned of "no reasonable alternative" amid rising coronavirus cases which means the region may have to follow tougher rules.
The Prime Minister said soaring cases in the UK mean Britain is facing one of history's "darkest moments," reports The Sun.
If the leader decides on going back to stricter guidelines, pubs and restaurants in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle could face closure.
However, schools and workplaces would remain open.
A No 10 source said: "The numbers are going the wrong way, and there will come a point very soon where we simply have to do more."
In Manchester, which is a top hotspot for coronavirus 3,105 new cases were recorded in seven days last week, almost double the week before.
Speaking at the virtual Tory party conference, Mr Johnson said: "I have had more than enough of this disease that attacks not only human beings but so many of the greatest things about our country — our pubs, our clubs, our football, our theatre and all the gossipy gregariousness and love of human contact that drives the creativity of our economy."
Weekly coronavirus deaths in England and Wales up for third week running
He also said he "deeply regretted" the tougher measures.
The Prime Minister added: "This government has been forced by the pandemic into erosions of liberty that we deeply regret and to an expansion in the role of the state from lockdown enforcement to the many bailouts and subsidies that go against our instincts.
"But we accept them because there is simply no reasonable alternative."
Mr Johnson says that social distancing could last another year as he pledged to end the measures by October 2021.
The Prime Minister made the announcement at a Conservative Party conference, promising normality by November 2021.
He told colleagues he expected people to be able to be "face-to-face and cheek-by-jowl" by next autumn.
Johnson also said he had "more than enough" of coronavirus, which he described as an "alien invader" and the "plague".
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