Large swathes of southern England will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions from Saturday due to rising coronavirus levels.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out the findings of the first full review of England’s tier allocations, with very little good news for areas already under tough restrictions.
Instead he was forced to place more areas under the toughest measures, closing pubs, restaurants and cinemas.
Mr Hancock said areas moving into Tier 3 are: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, the whole of Hertfordshire, Surrey with the exception of Waverley, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of East Sussex, and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire.
But Bristol and North Somerset will move from Tier 3 to Tier 2, while Herefordshire will move from Tier 2 to Tier 1.
Mr Hancock said the UK has “come so far” and “mustn’t blow it now”.
Making a statement in the Commons, he told MPs: “As we enter the coldest months we must be vigilant and keep this virus under control.”
The cautious approach comes amid mounting concern about the prospect of a surge in cases following the easing of restrictions over the Christmas period.