The UK saw the largest daily spike in coronavirus cases in four months on Friday as fears grow of a devastating second wave.
New data suggesting a rise in infections came as stricter measures were imposed on Birmingham in the latest local lockdown announcement, after a spike in cases there.
The city and neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell boroughs all face a ban from next week on socialising between people outside their own household.
She said there were ‘worrying signs for the elderly’ and that many of the new cases were coming from community transmission.
“Most of these cases are people tested in the community.
“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.”
Also on Friday, the Government revealed a launch date for the delayed NHS app which it hopes will help to contain the virus during what the Health Secretary described as a “critical time”.
The tracing app is due to be rolled out across England and Wales on September 24, and pub goers and diners will be among those urged to download it and check themselves in to venues.
Matt Hancock said it is “vital” the NHS Test and Trace system is used to reach as many people as possible to prevent outbreaks and “stop this virus in its tracks”.
Data released by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shows the estimate for the R value – the reproduction number of coronavirus transmission – across the UK is between 1.0 and 1.2.
According to Government advisers, the last time R was above 1 was in early March.
Elsewhere, Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates suggested there has been a rise in daily infections in England.
The ONS said the rate of new infections in private households was estimated to be at an average of 3,200 people per day between August 30 and September 5, up from 2,000 the previous week.