The weekend saw crowded shopping streets in London, which is currently under tier two restrictions

London faces a move to tier three – England’s highest level of coronavirus restrictions – in the coming days, the BBC has been told.

Ministers and officials are said to be “deeply concerned” about a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases across the capital.

The BBC’s Hugh Pym reports London MPs have been briefed on the latest data, with a move to tier three now believed to be possible as soon as today.

But our health editor said no final decision had been made.

Council leaders in London are understood to be alarmed at the projected rise in cases and some are pushing for a “tier three plus” regime with tougher restrictions than tier three on its own.

Essex may also be moved up to tier three, which would mean that mixing with other households anywhere indoors is banned, people advised against travelling to other areas, and sports fans excluded from events.

Some areas in and around London have recorded large increases in confirmed coronavirus cases over the past week.

Epping Forest, which straddles London and Essex, has recorded a 71% increase in cases during the most recent seven-day period, according to the latest data.

Havering, in east London, has seen a 48.5% rise with a rolling rate of 470.8 confirmed Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Hugh Pym added: “It’s a fast-moving situation. I understand that health officials have presented data to council leaders and London MPs showing a sharp rise in virus cases just in the last few days or so and the projection that without further action they could start rising very, very rapidly indeed.”

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the government to ask all secondary schools and colleges in the capital to close early ahead of Christmas.

Mr Khan said he also wanted an extended break for schools as there are “significant” Covid outbreaks among 10 to 19-year-olds.

The Department for Education said it was “vital” children remained at school.