TOP scientists have told the Government a "circuit breaker" lockdown at half-term could save thousands of lives, as pressure mounts on Boris Johnson to impose stricter restrictions.

The three-tier Covid alert level system comes into force across England today, with Bradford currently sitting in the High level - Tier 2 - although last night Bradford West MP Naz Shah said talks to enter Tier 3 have been suggested.

The Prime Minister is now facing calls to go further by introducing a fortnight of nationwide curbs to bring the coronavirus resurgence under control.

Downing Street is understood to be keeping the idea on the table, after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said a two to three-week national lockdown over the October half term was needed to prevent a “sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter”.

A paper by members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) reportedly calculates that more than 7,000 lives could be saved if schools are closed and people are ordered to stay at home from October 24 for two weeks.

It is being reported in the national press that the modelling suggested coronavirus deaths for the rest of the year could be reduced from 19,900 to 12,100, with hospital admissions cut from 132,400 to 66,500.

If schools and shops remained open, the death toll could be cut to 15,600, it reported.

The paper, due to be published on today, is authored by Professor Graham Medley and other members of the Government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling – known as SPI-M.

They are said to note that there are “no good epidemiological reasons to delay the break”.

It comes after Sir Keir used a televised press conference to warn that Mr Johnson was “no longer following the scientific advice” by proposing “far less stringent restrictions” than suggested by SAGE.

More than half (54 per cent) of people surveyed by YouGov on Tuesday felt the Government should have introduced a national lockdown in September, while 28% of the 4,222 people polled disagreed.

It emerged on Monday that the Prime Minister dismissed a recommendation for a “circuit-breaker” from SAGE three weeks ago, opting instead for the less drastic three-tier local alert levels.