HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock says it is "impossible to know" when coronavirus restrictions in England could begin to be eased.

This comes amid reports from national newspapers that the current lockdown rules could be strengthened "by the weekend".

Appearing on Sky News this morning, Mr Hancock was quizzed on whether the March 8 date touted by some of his Tory peers as the day on which lockdown restrictions would be relaxed could be believed.

The Health Secretary said: "It's impossible to know.

The Argus: Health Secretary Matt HancockHealth Secretary Matt Hancock

"We'll keep the restrictions in place not a moment longer than they are necessary, but we will keep them in place as long as they are necessary.

"On the timings of that, we're on track to deliver this vaccination programme to the four groups who are most vulnerable to Covid by February 15."

But the Daily Mail reported today that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been bombarded by requests to tighten lockdown rules.

As a result, Downing Street is currently considering measures such as limiting takeaways and click and collect services, closing more workplaces and nurseries and banning people from exercising with one person from another household, the publication claimed.

No10 sources told the national newspaper that ministers "were ready to tighten the lockdown further unless the situation improves by the weekend".

But Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has denied that the closure of nurseries is being considered.

He said: "The advice that we've had is that we can keep early years settings open and there is no intention to close them.

"We have not received any contrary advice to that."

When England entered its third national lockdown last week, it was announced that the measures would remain in place until at least February 15.

But the government has remained vague on a specific end date for the restrictions.

Speaking to Sky News on the day the lockdown was introduced, January 5, Conservative MP Michael Gove said: "I think it's right to say as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions but not necessarily all."