There have been two further coronavirus-related deaths and 1,031 new cases reported in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours.

This brings the death toll there to 610 while the total number of positive cases now stands at 26,208.

The majority of new cases, 275, are in Belfast with 172 in Derry and Strabane.

The latest figures follow new Covid-19 restrictions coming into force across Northern Ireland today.

Pubs and restaurants closed last night for four weeks, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries. Schools will close on Monday for two weeks.

Under the new restrictions, retail outlets will remain open, as will gyms for individual training.

Churches will also remain open and it is understood a 25-person limit will be placed on funerals and wedding services, but wedding receptions are prohibited.

Meanwhile, more than half the population of England is now under tougher coronavirus restrictions after the severest measures came into force in Lancashire today while Londoners are banned from meeting other households indoors.

The most severe level of restrictions, Tier 3, means people cannot socialise with anyone outside their household in any indoor and many outdoor settings. Pubs and bars must close unless they can operate as a restaurant.

Lancashire and the Liverpool city region - home to 3.1 million people - are the only two areas of England under Tier 3.

Under Tier 2 restrictions, people cannot meet with anyone they do not live with indoors unless they are part of a support bubble, while the rule of six applies for socialising outside.

Areas in Tier 2 currently include London, Essex, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and West Yorkshire - with 25.2 million people affected by the restrictions.

Artist Peter Barber works on a mural in Manchester city centre, depicting nurse Melanie Senior

Earlier today, British government adviser John Bell said a short national circuit-breaker may be necessary as he described other measures as "biting around the edges".

The regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I can see very little way of getting on top of this without some kind of a circuit-breaker.

"The numbers are actually pretty eye-watering in some bits of the country and I think it's going to be very hard to get on top of this just biting around the edges.

"I think there will be every effort to keep schools open.

"If in the end we have to take kids out for two weeks, calm it all down, and then start ideally embedded in a much more rigorous testing regime then that's maybe what we may have to do."

In Scotland, a tiering system for restrictions is set to be introduced, subject to the approval of Holyrood.

At present, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outside central Scotland can only conduct indoor business between 6am and 6pm and not serve alcohol, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

Pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas - Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley - have been forced to close for all but takeaway service until 26 October.

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government will meet this weekend to discuss a circuit-breaker lockdown. Any decisions will be announced on Monday.

Currently, there are tighter restrictions in 17 areas of Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and parts of North Wales, affecting more than 2.3 million people.

These prohibit people from entering or leaving their local area without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.