The health secretary said “by far” the fastest rise in coronavirus infection rates was among 11-18-year-olds.
He said all children in this age group should get tested, irrespective of whether they had symptoms.
“We need to do everything to stop the spread in school-age children now,” Mr Hancock said.
More details would be set out on Friday, he added.
Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, Mr Hancock said the government was “particularly concerned” about coronavirus cases in “London, Kent and Essex”, which are rising and “in many areas already high”.
He said the government must not wait until the next review of coronavirus measures, on 16 December, to take action.
“We need to take targeted action immediately,” he said, so the government has “decided to put in place an immediate plan to test all secondary school-age children in the seven worst affected boroughs in London, in parts of Essex that border London and parts of Kent”.
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