Israel is the first country in the world to introduce a second lockdown - but could it happen in the UK?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a second national lockdown on Sunday night (Getty Images)

Israel has become the first country to impose a second national lockdown after it recorded a steep rise in coronavirus cases and death rates. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the move on September 13, confirming that the strict lockdown would get underway on September 18, coinciding with the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

The national lockdown will be in place for three weeks.

"I know these steps are a heavy price for us all," Mr Netanyahu said.

"These are not the holidays we are used to. We certainly won't be able to celebrate with our extended families."

How does Israel's infection rate compare to the UK?

Israel has become one of the epicentres of the pandemic in recent weeks. 

The country of just 8.8 million recorded over 4,000 cases a day last week, continuing a worrying upward trend of positive cases. 

The Middle Eastern country recorded 199.3 new cases a day per one million residents in the week leading up to September 2 - the highest per capita rate in the world. 

By contrast the UK recorded 3,300 cases on Sunday but has a significantly larger population of 66 million.

Could Britain be heading for a second national lockdown?

As rules on social gatherings in the UK are tightened, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned about the need to act now in order to avoid a second lockdown.

Rules limiting gatherings to just six people were introduced this week and mark the first significant reverse step in the Westminster Government’s move out of lockdown since restrictions began easing in May.

The rules came as cases across the country began to rise steeply, with the UK recording over 3,000 cases on September 13.

What has Boris Johnson said? 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a second national lockdown was unlikely but refused to rule out such a move during an interview with the Telegraph in July.

The Number 10 Downing Street incumbent told the Telegraph "I can't abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don't want to use it. And nor do I think we will be in that position again."

Due to advances in the UK’s test and trace programme Mr Johnson believes that a complete shutdown of the country’s economy won’t be necessary.

He said: “We're genuinely able now to look at what's happening in much closer to real-time, to isolate outbreaks and to address them on the spot, and to work with local authorities to contain the problem locally and regionally if we have to.”

However, on Wednesday Mr Johnson, whose tenure as Prime Minister has been defined by a series of U-turns, said that if the public didn’t follow new social distancing restrictions a second national lockdown may be necessary.

Speaking from Number 10 Downing Street, he said: "I want to be absolutely clear, these measures are not another national lockdown. The whole point of them is to avoid a second national lockdown.”