The entire borough of Elmbridge in Surrey will be placed under 'Tier 2' lockdown restrictions from one minute past midnight on Saturday after it reported a rapid rise in the number of new coronavirus cases.

The decision was announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock Thursday (October 15) in an address to the House of Commons where he revealed London, Essex and other regions would also move into the 'High' or Tier 2 alert level at one minute past midnight on October 17. 

This means that mixing between households will be banned for the duration of the new restrictions, while a number of new rules (see below) will also be enforced.

Elmbridge's current rate of coronavirus infections per 100,000 people is 686.4, a similar number to other London boroughs like Richmond (678.2) and Bromley (692.7).

The borough has recorded a total of 939 infection of Covid-19 so far, according to the latest data from Public Health England (PHE).

Speaking after the announcement was made, Esher and Walton MP and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged people living in the borough to abide by the new restrictions:

"I appreciate that moving up a tier to high alert level will be disappointing for Elmbridge residents, but these additional restrictions are necessary to help curb the spread of the virus.

"Local residents have shown great resolve over recent months. We have got to follow these new rules to avoid more stringent restrictions later on," he said.

"That’s how we will come through this pandemic, protect lives and mitigate the harm to businesses and jobs," the foreign secretary added.

Elmbridge is currently the only borough in Surrey to be placed in the 'High' Tier 2 category for coronavirus.

Surrey County Council (SCC) Leader Tim Oliver said Thursday there was "absolutely no room for complacency" in controlling the spread of the virus as he acknowledged the difficulties with asking residents to abide by more restrictions.

"We know that the last 6 months has been incredibly challenging for residents but we really must all come together now to do what we can to overcome this virus.

"Sadly, in keeping with the picture we are seeing nationally, cases in the county are still increasing across the board," Cllr Oliver pointed out.

"The news today that rates have continued to rise sharply in Elmbridge means there is absolutely no room for complacency and residents in this area will now see some measures introduced to help curb the spread.

"In this area specifically, we will now need to limit social contact by limiting the number of people we’re in contact with socially. The new restrictions for Elmbridge mean that you must not mix anyone outside of your household indoors and you must not mix in groups of more than 6 if you are outside.

"I’m grateful to all our residents for their perseverance in following the guidelines since March. But we must step it up now, to protect our loved ones, our NHS, and our businesses.”

"If we all follow the new restrictions we still have the chance to slow infection rates and prevent further restrictions in Elmbridge and the rest of Surrey," he added.