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London will move into tier 3 coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Wednesday, Matt Hancock has said.
The move, which was announced to MPs today, will see bars, restaurants and pubs across the capital close.
Other parts of the South East are also expected to move into the toughest restrictions, but it is currently unclear which areas will be affected.
Under tier 3 rules, people of separate households who are not in the same support bubble must not meet socially indoors, in private gardens or in most outdoor venues.
The news comes amidst a stark rise in coronavirus cases in the capital.
Earlier today, the health secretary briefed MPs on the worsening rates of infection across London, as per Sky News.
One MP told the publication that there was a ‘lot of frustration’, and that politicians questions went unanswered.
It was the ‘same gloomy outlook as last week’s meeting except all the data is even worse, almost back to the levels pre-lockdown’, the MP said, as per Sky News.
After national lockdown measures were lifted in the UK earlier this month, London was placed in tier 2.
This meant shops could open, and those from different households could dine together at outdoor restaurants.
Earlier today London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged ministers to act ‘with open eyes’ and avoid damage to the capital’s economy.
He said placing London in tier 3 would be ‘catastrophic to our hospitality, to our culture and to retail’.
If the government decides to do that, they must provide additional support over and above what’s been offered to make sure these businesses don’t go bust. If they go bust, not only will it lead to thousands of Londoners being made unemployed, but our ability to recover from this pandemic will be made much harder.
Earlier this month, the Mayor called for the government to close schools in the capital, as rates of infection amongst young people increased. Under tier 3 restrictions, schools are expected to stay open.
In a letter, Khan said ‘urgent consideration’ must be given closing secondary schools, sixth form and FE colleges a few days early and ‘keeping them closed for longer after Christmas’.
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