There will be exceptions for people getting together for work, weddings and funerals as well as for organized sports - but parties in pubs and restaurants, and gatherings in public spaces will all be hit by the new limits.
The latest development comes as AstraZeneca announced a pause in trials of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford, after one of the participants fell ill.
How can we socialise safely?
On the new rules on social distancing, he told Sky News: "Abiding by these rules is absolutely vital to protect life".
The spike in United Kingdom cases follows big daily case increases in Spain and France, both of whom have seen rising numbers of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized.
"We have seen across Europe there is a second wave that many countries have experienced - some of those countries have then got that second wave under control".
Hancock said the government is "going to bring more clarity and we're going to enforce the rules more strictly".
Hancock said the new limitations on gatherings will be complemented by tighter rules for the hospitality sector.
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Previously, the legal limit on social gatherings had been set at 30 people.
"We need to act now to stop the virus spreading", Johnson is expected to say, according to an email from his office.
Meanwhile Mr Hancock rejected claims that the testing system was failing, telling Sky News that testing capacity was at its highest ever level.
"It beggars belief that after weeks of encouraging people to have a test if feeling unwell, ministers are seeking to blame people for simply doing what they were advised", he said in a statement.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to announce the new law in a press conference today, after the number of daily Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom rose to nearly 3,000.
The prime minister is announcing the ban on gatherings as a change in law - meaning it will be illegal to break the rules by Monday and will be enforceable by police.
People who don't follow the rule may confront a Number 100 nice, that will double each additional repeat offence around 3,200.
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The campaign states that these are the three most effective ways the public can contain the spread of the virus.
The rules will apply across England to all ages and to indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Under current pandemic rules, no more than two households or household bubbles are allowed to meet outdoors.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own regulations.
What is the new restriction?.
The Hands Face Space campaign urges people to ensure they have washed their hands, used a mask where appropriate and maintain social distancing.
As of now, the United Kingdom has registered 354,917 coronavirus cases, with over 41,000 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
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