London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will move into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday.
The move will see thousands of bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants close in the capital and surrounding areas after Tuesday night, except for takeaway, delivery and click-and-collect services.
The Tier 3 measures, announced to MPs by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, will come into force at 00.01am on Wednesday.
Along with Greater London, the south and west of Essex will soon be under the “very high” alert level.
- Epping Forest
- Castle Point
The south of Hertfordshire will also move into Tier 3, which includes:
- Three Rivers
Mr Hancock told the House of Commons that a “new variant of coronavirus” might be associated with the faster spread of infections in the South East.
But the health secretary stressed there was nothing yet to suggest the mutation was more likely to cause serious disease, or would fail to respond to a vaccine.