The UK has reported the highest daily number of coronavirus cases since mid-May amid “worrying signs” of an increase in infections among elderly people.
A further 3,539 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed on Friday evening, up from 2,919 the previous day, according to the government’s official figures.
Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said the increase was “a reminder of the ongoing risk”.
“Most of these cases are people tested in the community,” she added.
"Although younger people continue to make up the greatest share of new cases, we're now starting to see worrying signs of infections occurring in the elderly, who are at far higher risk of getting seriously ill.
"This is a reminder of the ongoing risk as the virus spreads throughout the UK.
"People should continue to follow social distancing rules, wash their hands regularly and wear a face covering in enclosed spaces. You should not mix with others when unwell."
A further six deaths were reported, bringing the total number who have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test to 41,614.
It came as stricter local lockdown measures were announced for Birmingham the neighbouring boroughs of Solihull and Sandwell. From next week residents are banned from socialising with people outside their own household.
Lockdown measures are also being tightened from midnight on Friday in Lanarkshire due to a rise in cases, the Scottish government said.
The surge in cases since the start of September has already prompted Boris Johnson to announce that gatherings of more than six people would be banned again from Monday.
According to the government’s scientific advisers, the R value - the reproduction number of coronavirus transmission - across the UK is between 1.0 and 1.2. The last time R was above 1 was in early March.
Coronavirus infections are now doubling every seven to eight days in England, according to researchers.
Additional reporting by Press Association