Coronavirus latest - HALF of Brits are now living in stricter tier two or three restrictions - with an MP claiming the country is facing "lockdown by stealth".
Millions of people living as far south as London and as far north as Northumberland have been hit by the new laws under Boris Johnson's three-tier lockdown plan, which he unveiled this week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned the threat from the bug in the capital was "grave and serious" as he announced the decision in the Commons Thursday.
Other areas moving into Tier 2 include Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield.
Both Manchester and Lancashire are also poised to be forced into Tier 3 lockdown rules later today.
Mr Hancock on Thursday said: "In London, infection rates are on a steep upward path with cases doubling every 10 days.
"We know from the first peak the infection can spread fast and put pressures on the NHS."
He added that he wants "the time London is in Tier 2 to be as short as possible" and ministers were already readying exit plans for the restrictions.
It means people will be told they can't mix with anyone from another household indoors, but can meet up in beer gardens and private gardens, where the national rule of six applies.
Londoners will also be told to avoid public transport.
Schools, universities and places of worship are allowed to remain open, as well as offices and business venues.
All measures are subject to a review every 4 weeks.
The Health Secretary stressed that following a localised approach was critical to avoid "greater economic damage in the future".
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