It is "not inevitable" that London will be placed under tighter coronavirus restrictions ahead of next week's review of the tier system in England, Matt Hancock has said.

The Health Secretary admitted there was concern in areas across the South East where infection rates had been beginning to rise, and said a formal review of the system would take place on Wednesday December 16.

It comes as three more London boroughs entered the top 20 areas with the highest rates of infection in England - Barking & Dagenham, Waltham Forest, and Redbridge.

Rates are up in 31 of the 32 London boroughs, the exception being Brent, according to data published by Public Health England.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that placing the capital under the harshest coronavirus restrictions would be "catastrophic", but admitted the city was facing "a tipping point".

Under England's Tier 3 restrictions pubs and restaurants would only be able to offer takeaway services and households would be banned from mixing except in certain outdoor spaces such as parks.

People would also be urged to avoid travelling outside the area and fans would again be banned from sporting events.

Mr Hancock said that secondary school students in the capital would have increased access to coronavirus tests following rapid rises in infection rates among young people.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, he said that "by far the fastest rise" in cases in the South had been among children aged 11-18, and that targeted action was needed immediately.

"I'm particularly concerned about the number of cases in London, Kent and Essex," he said.

"Cases are rising and in many areas are already high.

"Looking into the detail, the testing results and surveys shows us that by far the fastest rise is among secondary school age children, 11 to 18 years old, while the rate among adults in London is broadly flat.

"But we know from experience that a sharp rise in cases in younger people can lead to a rise among more vulnerable age groups later.

"We need to do everything we can to stop the spread among school age children in London right now - we must not wait until the review, which will take place on December 16.

"We need to take targeted action immediately."

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Mr Hancock said the Government would be working with local authorities to "surge" testing units to allow students and their families to access tests.

"We want to keep schools open because that is both right for education and for public health," he said.

"We are therefore surging mobile testing units and will be working with schools and local authorities to encourage these children and their families to get tested over the coming days."

Following the briefing Mr Khan tweeted his approval of the new measures.

"I'm pleased the Govt will provide more testing resources for the areas of London worst hit by this virus - something we've repeatedly asked for," he said.

"I've also raised concerns with the Health Secretary about the rise in cases in secondary school children.

"Nobody wants the capital to face Tier 3 restrictions, but with cases rising we face a tipping point.

"That's why it's important the Govt is providing this testing support and it's essential that Londoners continue to follow the rules to reduce the spread of the virus."

It comes as the chairman of the London Assembly Health Committee, Dr Onkar Sahota, said "the figures look like we will be heading for Tier 3".

Asked on Times Radio if relaxing measures at Christmas would cause London to be placed under tougher restrictions, Dr Sahota said: "I think it's certainly given the people a false sense of confidence that things will be alright.

"People are going to Regent Street, packing it up... we are traveling on the Tubes much more than we should be doing... Christmas will not be alright unless we follow the good public health measures."