Boris Johnson has said he does not want to impose a second national lockdown in the event of another Covid-19 outbreak.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, the PM compared the option of a nationwide shutdown to a “nuclear deterrent”, adding he does not think the country “will be in that position again”.
But the UK’s chief scientific adviser said there is “a risk” such measures could be needed as winter approaches.
It comes as councils in England have been given “lightning” lockdown powers.
Under the new powers, local authorities can close shops, cancel events and shut outdoor public spaces to manage local outbreaks.
Elsewhere, Scotland has seen the biggest daily rise in new confirmed coronavirus cases since 21 June.