Separate households will not be allowed to meet indoors in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire from midnight, the government has announced.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said an “increasing rate of transmission” had been identified in those areas.
“The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing,” he said.
He also confirmed restrictions in Leicester will remain in place.
The areas that will have tighter restrictions are Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees.
“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,” Mr Hancock.
On Thursday, a further 38 people in the UK died, bringing the total number of Covid-19 associated deaths to 45,999.
And 846 cases were reported – the highest number of cases in a day for a month.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said the decision to ban households in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire from meeting indoors was the “right” one.
She said the UK government was “right to act quickly”, adding: “This is a sharp reminder that the threat of this virus is still very real.”