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People in England are to be banned from socialising in groups of more than six from next week.

The tightening of restrictions follows a sharp rise in coronavirus infections across the UK, with more than 8,000 new cases confirmed over the past three days alone.

Boris Johnson is set to detail the move at a press briefing tomorrow.

But what do we know about the new rules so far? And when will they come into force?

What are the new rules?

From Monday, gatherings of more than six people will be illegal.

Currently, the lawful limit on gatherings is 30 people.

Why are they being introduced?

The chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, have agreed that the action is needed urgently after the number of positive cases rose steeply.

In a Zoom meeting with Prime Minister last week, police forces said they would like rules on social contact to be simplified.

Chris Whitty is among the medical experts expressing concern at the rise in cases(REUTERS)

Where will they apply?

The rules will apply across England to all ages and to indoor and outdoor gatherings.

This will include private homes, parks, pubs and restaurants and they will be applied to all ages.

Will there be any exemptions?

There will be a few scenarios where the restrictions do not apply, such as if your household or support bubble is larger than six people, or if you are gathering in a large group for the sake of work or education.

Weddings, funerals and organised team sports will also be exempt if they are conducted in a Covid-secure way.

Weddings can still take place provided they are carried out in a Covid-secure way(PA)

What will the punishments be for breaking the rules?

The Government hope the new rules will make it easier for the police to break up large gatherings.

Failure to stick to the new rules could mean a £100 fine, which will double with every subsequent offence up to £3,200.

What does the Prime Minister say?

The Prime Minister is expected to tell the public on Wednesday: “We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.

“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”