Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that London will move into tougher Tier 3 Covid restrictions later this week.
Mr Hancock addressed the House of Commons this afternoon (Monday, December 14) where the new measures were announced.
In the statement he informed MPs that a new strain of coronavirus is spreading throughout London and the South East at rapid pace.
He said that it is believed to be spreading faster than the previous variant of Covid, which might explain why virus rates have surged suddenly and dramatically in a host of boroughs in the capital.
The new Tier 3 rules will be in place from 00.01am on Wednesday and also apply to most of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire.
Mr Hancock explained that hospital admissions are rising in London and that the tougher measures are necessary without delay.
The allocation of tiers was due to be reviewed on December 16 but a huge spike in cases in the capital has meant the tougher restrictions will be brought in early.
Latest figures show Havering, in East London, is the city’s worst affected borough – with only four places in England having a higher number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people. They are all in Kent or Essex.
Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Newham, Bexley and Tower Hamlets are also now among the 30 worst affected areas of the country.
The main Tier 3 rules will mean:
You cannot mix indoors, in private gardens or at most outdoor venues except with your household or support bubble
Bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants must close, except for delivery and takeaway
Sports fans cannot attend stadiums
Indoor entertainment – like bowling alleys, arcades and cinemas – must close
People are advised not to enter or exit the Tier 3 area
Shops, gyms and personal care like hairdressing can stay open
It comes as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for schools to be shut – with teaching done from home, and masks to be made mandatory on the capital’s busy shopping streets.