Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. | Reuters/Jeff Overs BBC

The month-long quarantine measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend to combat the rise in coronavirus infections, could be extended, according to a senior cabinet member said on Sunday.

The new restrictions in England will take effect on Thursday and last until December 2.

People will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons:

To go to school
To go to work, if they can’t work at home
To exercise with people from their own household, on their own or with one person from another household
For medical reasons, appointments or to escape injury or harm
To shop for food and essentials
To provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer

Non-essential shops will be shut but click and collect services and supermarkets will stay open.

Pubs, bars and restaurants must close, but takeaway and delivery services can continue.

Schools, colleges and universities will stay open.

The UK has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe and more than 20,000 new cases a day and scientists warn that fatalities could soar during the winter months.

"We can definitely say that unless we take action now, the health service is going to be overwhelmed in ways that none of us could stand," said Michael Gove during an interview on British television.

Several other cabinet ministers have also hinted that England’s quarantine could be extended into next year, but may be eased briefly over Christmas, according to The Times newspaper.