Health Secretary Matt Hancock was today condemned for announcing a local lockdown in northern England on Twitter with less than three hours' notice.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham welcomed the measures, which he said would be reviewed on a weekly basis.
Under the measures, people from different households in the affected areas are banned from meeting indoors.
The new rules announced at 9.16pm last night also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues.
Today, Mr Burnham said that ministers should have the detail of any changes in lockdown measures at the same time they go in front of the cameras.
"We have always said that we will remain vigilant and be ready to respond quickly should the need arise".
Asked by the BBC if the United Kingdom was now entering a second wave, Hancock said: "It is not yet and we are absolutely determined to take the action that is needed".
He told Sky News: 'On the substance, we do accept that these steps are needed.
One commenter tweeted: "So you can't go round to each other's house anymore. but you can all meet up at the pub and go on holiday together." .
"The picture in Greater Manchester has changed over the last seven days", he told the BBC. We're watching the data very, very closely, like the Government is.
"We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of COVID across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe", Hancock said on Twitter. He said the rules had been put in place to cut transmission of the deadly disease from household to household.
'But announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government's communications during this crisis.
The government will pass new laws to enforce the changes to meeting people in private homes and gardens.
The measures were introduced hastily during the start of the annual Eid al-Adha "feast of sacrifice", disrupting the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan for hundreds of thousands of British Muslims.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the restrictions were being brought in because people were "meeting and not abiding to social distancing".