The news comes after the UK recorded its highest daily increase in cases since the pandemic began, with 36,804 confirmed cases yesterday compared to Monday's 33,364.
According to the Daily Telegraph, ministers are due to meet today to discuss the possibility of placing further areas into the highest tier of restrictions, with an announcement expected to follow later in the day.
The report also claims that government sources are warning there is a 'high chance' of full national lockdown at New Year, as the virus mutation 'bleeds'.
Genomic researchers say the new variant - which is believed to be up to 70 percent more contagious than its predecessor, and is thought to be behind recent spikes in transmission rates in several parts of the country - has now spread across the UK, with cases confirmed in Wales and Scotland.
Health chiefs in Cumbria believe the new variant could be responsible for sharp increases in the county, while Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire's Director of Public Health, has also said there is a 'high likelihood' that the strain is now in the county.
The Daily Telegraph also reported that local leaders and health officials in Birmingham met last night to discuss the possibility of the city being upgraded to Tier 4, and other areas being move up to Tier 3.
A further 17 areas are now being offered community testing to help curb the spread, with the government set to announce rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests to detect asymptomatic cases.
These areas join the 106 others currently signed up to roll out rapid community testing through December and January, with the additional areas being: Boston (Tier 3), Lincoln (Tier 3), Walsall (Tier 3), Hartlepool (Tier 3), County Durham (Tier 3), Gateshead (Tier 3), Newcastle (Tier 3), North Tyneside (Tier 3), Northumberland (Tier 3), South Tyneside (Tier 3), Sunderland (Tier 3), Redcar and Cleveland (Tier 3), City of Bristol (Tier 2), North Somerset (Tier 2), South Gloucestershire (Tier 3), Coventry (Tier 3) and Calderdale (Tier 3).
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "I am pleased to confirm 17 more local authorities will soon be rolling out enhanced community testing programmes as part of our plan to pick up more cases, more quickly.
"Working together we will help areas where levels of the virus are highest to reduce their infection rates and break the chains of transmission."
He continued: "Roughly one in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms and so it's essential we broaden testing to help identify those who are infected and infectious, unaware they may be spreading the disease.
"We are rolling out community testing more widely at a rapid pace, with 123 areas now planning to take part. If you are offered community testing in your local area, I would strongly encourage you to take up this opportunity to get tested and protect your local community."
LADbible has reached out to No. 10 for comment.
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