Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a televised address tonight as pressure mounts for a third national lockdown in England.
He is expected to outline the next steps to combat the surge in coronavirus cases.
Parliament is due to be called back on Wednesday, Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister has said that he will act “in due course” and “do whatever is necessary”.
However, he was warned not to delay announcing new restrictions in England as cases and pressure on the NHS increased.
A spokesman # 10 said the move was in response to the “rapidly escalating” number of infections following the advent of the new variant.
The statement was followed by a recall by Parliament on Wednesday so that the MEPs can discuss the measures.
A spokesman # 10 said: “The spread of the new variant of Covid-19 has resulted in a rapid escalation in the number of cases across the country.
“It is clear to the Prime Minister that further steps must be taken now to halt this rise, protect the NHS and save lives.”
In response to the announcement of the Prime Minister’s statement and Parliament’s recall, union leader Sir Keir Starmer replied: “I hope the Prime Minister has listened to the clear calls for strict national restrictions.”
He told the PA news agency that new measures were needed to “get the virus under control, protect the NHS and make room for the vaccine to roll out as soon as possible”.
Nicola Sturgeon announced today to the Scottish Parliament that Scotland will enter a national lockdown from midnight (January 4th).
The launch of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which is easier to distribute than Pfizer / BioNTech’s other approved vaccine, was given for the first time this morning.
It could provide a way out of further bans, but it could take months for sufficient numbers to get their first shot.
Mr Johnson is scheduled to hold the address at 8 p.m. tonight.