The coronavirus lockdown will be extended for another three weeks, the Government is expected to announce amid renewed warnings that it is still too soon to start easing the restrictions.
Ministers will meet on Thursday morning to agree to prolong the social distancing controls announced on March 23, amid signs the epidemic in the UK is beginning to peak.
The Cabinet meeting comes after the number of people who have died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 reached almost 13,000, with growing concern over increasing deaths in care homes.
The victims included a pregnant nurse whose baby, a little girl, was delivered successfully and is said to be doing well.
Meanwhile a 99-year-old military veteran who had wanted to raise £1,000 for the NHS by walking round his garden passed the £10 million mark.
Downing Street said the three-week review of the lockdown regulations will go ahead as planned in line with the coronavirus legislation.
However, ministers and officials have repeatedly made clear there is no prospect of any imminent relaxation.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the party will back an extension, but has called on ministers to set out an “exit strategy” explaining how they will eventually be lifted.
Speaking at the daily No 10 press conference on Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there could be no “let up” in the efforts to curb the spread of the virus.