The UK has reported a record daily rise in confirmed coronavirus cases, with another 35,928 infections.
The update comes amid growing concern over a new variant of COVID-19 causing a dramatic uptick in infections in London and the southeast of England, prompting the prime minister to enforce new Tier 4 restrictions.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said the “sharp and sudden increase” in new cases on Sunday was of “serious concern”.
“Most of the new cases reported today are concentrated in London and the South East, although it is too early to tell if this is linked to the new variant,” she said.
“What we do know is that the way to control this virus is the same, whatever the variant. It simply will not spread if we avoid close contact with others.
“Wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance from others, and reduce your social contacts.