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London will be put into the strictest lockdown measures from Wednesday 16th December it has been announced.
Greater London, Basildon, Brentwood, Harlow, Epping Forest, Castle Point, Rochford, Malden, Braintree, Chelmsford, plus Thurrock and Southend on Sea.
Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Watford, and Three Rivers authority have been put into the Very High tier after it was reported a new variant of the Covid-19 virus had been identified in the south of England.
The capital was forced into Tier 3 regulations after it saw a huge surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, making it the UK's hotspot for Covid-19.
The news comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock urgently called for all secondary students at high-risk borough's in London, as well as some that border on Essex and Kent, to be tested for the deadly virus.
Hancock told the Commons: "Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants.
"We've currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas.
"And numbers are increasing rapidly."
Schools in Greenwich, Basildon and Islington have also been closed entirely in a bid to curb the spread following a rapid uptake in infections.
Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan previously suggested that the capital should be entering Tier 3 after a 75 per cent increase in cases.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, he explained: "[Tier 3] is possible because we've seen over the last few days a big increase in the virus."
Before the recent surge in infections, the earliest London was expected to go into Tier 3 was December 19, a few days after the review on 16th December.
But the timetable has been dramatically hauled forward, with scientists and ministers believing more urgent action is needed to stop the sudden spiral in cases.
The news comes just weeks before restrictions across the country are slightly relaxed over the Christmas period.
Three different households are allowed to form a Christmas "bubble" and socialise together indoors.
There are fears this could cause a dreaded "third wave" of coronavirus deaths.
Over 64,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK so far, with over 1.85 million confirmed cases in the country.
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