COVID cases have nearly doubled in a fortnight with 1.7 million Britons infected last week.
A new virus wave erupted in all four UK nations driven by faster-spreading strains of the Omicron variant.
Infections in England rose to 1.3 million last week from 1.1 million seven days earlier, office for National Statistics figures show.
One in 40 people now test positive. Cases are also up in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The UK total is 76 per cent higher than at the start of June.
But former deputy chief medical officer Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam said of the increase: “It’s really very small in relation to the kind of peaks we saw in January and April.
“The hospitalisation signal, most importantly, is very small.
“So at the moment there’s nothing alarmist in these figures.”
READ MORE ON COVID
The rebound in cases is down to the variants BA.4 and BA.5, which are taking over and may have an R rate as high as six.
That means each case infects six more people compared to 1.8 for flu.
Hospital admissions are rising with the daily figure doubling in the past fortnight from 577 on June 7 to 1,155 on Tuesday.
But the total of patients with Covid at 6,401 is less than half of April’s peak at 16,600. There are just 154 in intensive care.
Most read in The Sun
- Getting Covid triples your chances of developing Alzheimer’s or a bleed on the brain and doubles risk of Parkinson’s or stroke, a Danish study shows.