Debate raged last night over which tier London should be in under Boris Johnson's new system when the lines are redrawn on Thursday.
A rising infection rate in the capital, bucking the trend for most of England, has raised the possibility it could be plunged into the harshest Tier 3 restrictions.
Under the Prime Minister's new scheme, pubs and restaurants in Tier 3 will only be able to offer takeaway and delivery services, while cinemas, bowling alleys and hotels will close.
Residents in Tier 2 will have to follow rules that were previously in place in the highest Covid level - meaning pubs will only be able to serve alcohol with a 'substantial meal'.
Senior Tories, including Sir Ian Duncan Smith, last night demanded that London - which they argued was the beating heart of Britain's economy - be put into Tier 1.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But Whitehall sources told The Daily Mail that very few areas could be afforded the Level 1 restrictions, with only rural regions likely to have the lightest rules.
A shopper walks through a deserted Convent Garden in central London on Monday afternoon
In 20 of London's 32 regions last week there were increased infection rates. The biggest jumps being Havering (up from 309.4 to 386.0), Enfield (up from 175.6 to 230.4) and Redbridge (up from 249.0 to 300.4)
Two weeks ago the average infection rates were largely lower than today - but the worst-hit London boroughs are still outside the top 100 in the league table of 317 authorities in England, Department of Health statistics show
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that he anticipates Level 2 measures will be imposed after December 2.
Mr Johnson's tiers will remain in place until April because, despite the promising news from the vaccine producers, it will take months before they take effect - if indeed they do work.
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Mr Khan (pictured earlier this year) thinks his city is going into 'what is called Tier 2'
Sir Ian told The Telegraph: 'London must be put into Tier 1. London is dominant in the economy and we need it to get back to work immediately.'
Another London MP told the Guardian that they were 'fiercely lobbying' for hospitality to stay open in the capital.
It comes despite renewed pressure from regional leaders in the northwest who argue that there must be consistency across the country as they point to rising infection rates in London and the southeast.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield city region, told The Guardian last night: 'We're willing to do our bit, but we must not be taken for granted.'
Liverpool's Labour mayor Joe Anderson and Greater Manchester's Andy Burnham have again come out hard against being plunged into the toughest measures.
Many leaders in the northwest stand poised to argue that it is, in fact, London which deserves the most stringent Tier 3 rules.
In 20 of London's 32 regions last week there were increased infection rates. The biggest jumps being Havering (up from 309.4 to 386.0), Enfield (up from 175.6 to 230.4) and Redbridge (up from 249.0 to 300.4).
Meanwhile Kent is staring down the barrel of one of the worst infection rates in the country, with the district of Swale recording 631.7 cases per 100,000 people.
That's worse than anywhere else in England and just 50 miles to the centre of London.
Despite this, Mr Khan remained optimistic that the data did not point towards Tier 3 measures for his city.
'It's a bit early to say yet, but based on the numbers that I've seen, which is a slowdown in the virus spreading, it's coming down in parts of London in a couple of boroughs.' Mr Khan told LBC.
'What I hope would happen is ... London would probably be in what is called Tier 2.'
Commuters are packed onto a London tube on October 26 as the capital's millions continue to toil amid the pandemic
Despite rising cases, Covid-19 hospital admissions in London are among the lowest in the country and were last week less than a third of those in the northeast and half the figure in the northwest.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: 'Thankfully in London the NHS has performed remarkably in this second peak and has coped with it despite the pressures admirably well.'
Mr Johnson will announce which tiers the regions of England are in on Thursday.
The tiers will be reviewed every two weeks based on five categories: the numbers of cases, cases among those aged over 60, rate of infection, prevalence of the virus in the population and local pressures on the NHS.
The onerous tiered system which the Prime Minister has said will remain in place until March 31
By Mark Duell, Martin Robinson and Connor Boyd
Infection rates remain stubbornly high in areas across the country that will face Tier Three local lockdown rules when England's shutdown ends next week, with Hull, Kent and parts of the North West and Midlands in the firing line.
The district of Swale was recording 631.7 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to November 18, according to analysis of the latest Public Health England figures. It marked a sharp rise from the 425.8 infections per 100,000 reported for the previous seven days.
The rising case rate means Swale will likely be plunged into a Tier Three lockdown when the national shutdown ends on December 2 unless the borough can drastically reduce its infection rate.
Meanwhile official data shows Hull, in East Yorkshire, is also in danger of being put in the high-risk category next month because the city is recording 615.1 cases per 100,000.
Official testing data shows that coronavirus infection rates are falling across the North of England, where they were highest during the peak of the second wave, but they remain high in some areas of the West Midlands, Kent, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire (Darker colours indicate higher rates of positive tests per 100,000 people)
Boris Johnson today unveiled his winter Covid-19 road map to curb the spread of the virus, which includes a revamped tiered lockdown system from next month.
Under the new scheme, pubs and restaurants in areas in the highest category will only be able to offer takeaway and delivery services, while cinemas, bowling alleys and hotels will close.
Residents in Tier Two will have to follow rules that were previously in place in the highest Covid level - meaning pubs will only be able to serve alcohol with a 'substantial meal'.
Exactly which areas are being allocated into different tiers won't be announced until Thursday, but the PHE weekly infection rate data is normally one of the measurements used by officials.
London is set to go back into a Tier 2 lockdown when the second national lockdown ends on December 2 despite clear signs the already low infection rates across the capital have stalled and are dropping.
Businesses and MPs have demanded that the UK's largest city should be in Tier 1 to help recover some of the billions the economy has lost since since March as the hospitality industry warned 75 per cent of pubs,