As a new variant of coronavirus emerges, the British capital will enter Tier 3 lockdown from midnight on Wednesday, the UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock told parliament on Monday.

This will mean that bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes will all close, except for home deliveries and takeaways. Meetings between members of different households will also be banned, either inside or outside.

Hancock said that a new variant of the coronavirus has been influencing the rapid spread of the virus in the south-east of England. He said that 1,000 cases of the new strain had been identified, although it appeared to be no more dangerous.

The Tier 3 lockdown will mean that although shops will stay open, people will not be allowed to travel from Tier 1 or 2 zones to do their shopping in London.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that many London businesses will not be able to survive tougher restrictions.

FILE PHOTO: UK health minister Matt Hancock Reuters