A coronavirus safety guideline is attached to the door of a mosque in Rochdale, greater Manchester, northwest England on July 30, 2020. - Rochdale reportedly faces harsher lockdown measures being imposed after a spike in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

BRITAIN has imposed a tougher lockdown in swathes of northern England after a rise in the rate of novel coronavirus transmission, raising concerns that a second wave of the deadly virus could sow yet more turmoil.

Britain reported its highest number of new Covid-19 infections in more than a month on Thursday (30), as ministers fretted about a second wave of cases in Europe and warned more quarantine restrictions were possible.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said restrictions were being tightened slightly for millions of Britons because people were “meeting and not abiding to social distancing”.

“We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of Covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe,” he said on Twitter.

People in the areas affected, such as Greater Manchester, were told not to socialise with other households at home or in gardens, or to meet with other households in pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship or leisure venues.

They, however, were allowed to go to places of worship and pubs with members of their own household. Those breaking the rules will face a fine of £100.

The measures were introduced hastily at the start of the annual Muslim Eid al-Adha “feast of sacrifice”.

“The problem with this virus is that it thrives on the social contact which makes life worth living,” Hancock told Sky News. “I totally understand the human impact of this but unfortunately that is how the virus passes on.”

“We can see that second wave in Europe,” he added.

Asked by the BBC if the UK was entering a second wave, Hancock said: “It is not yet, and we are absolutely determined to take the action that is needed.”

Official data showed 846 new positive tests in Britain – the highest number of daily infections since June 28.