The British government will do everything it can to avoid putting the country into a second national lockdown and believes it can control the virus with tough local measures, housing minister Robert Jenrick said on Thursday.
Pressure was mounting on Britain to bring in nationwide restrictions after France and Germany ordered new lockdowns on Wednesday, and following the publication of a study which showed that nearly 100,000 people were catching the virus in the UK each day.
But Jenrick said that the government wanted to stick to its policy of local lockdowns, which now cover huge swathes of northern England, although he added that everything was kept under review.
"The very clear policy of the government is to do everything we can to avoid a full national lockdown," he told Sky News.
An Imperial College study published on Thursday showed how rife the virus was becoming, with cases doubling every nine days.
Scientists say more drastic lockdown restrictions should be brought in sooner rather than later to counter its spread.
Jenrick said that the government wanted to take action in the parts of the country where it was needed and that by avoiding a second full national shutdown it could limit damage to people's livelihoods and the economy.
The governments of Wales and Scotland have different restrictions and Wales is currently in a short lockdown.