Nationwide lockdown measures could be reintroduced at the end of summer, Government scientists say.
New infection rate data from the UKs Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggests the outbreak in England may no longer be shrinking.
The R reproduction estimate in England has seen an uptick to between 0.8 and 1, up from between 0.8-0.9 the previous week.
The upper end of that estimate at 1 would mean on average every person who catches the virus is passing it on to someone else.
A separate measure of growth rate suggests the outbreak is shrinking less, but is still coming down slowly.
Some of this is thought to be down to the warm weather and the fact that people can spend more time outdoors where the virus cannot easily spread.
SAGE now believes the virus spreads at an optimal temperature of 4C and is braced for a fresh winter crisis.
A source said: If the number overall increases then I would expect to have to impose some national measures.
The aim is always to reduce close contacts.
The growth rate estimate of new infections per day for England is now from -4% to -1%. This changed from between -5% to -2%.
Some of the slower spread is thought to be down to the warm weather (Image: Stuart Walker/SWNS)
Sage said the only region with a robust estimate that suggested its R rate could have reached 1 was the North West.
It recorded a range of 0.7 and 1. This was up from 0.7 and 0.9 the previous week.
It comes after criticism that the NHS Test and Trace system is not fit for purpose and is only contacting around a third of new symptomatic Covid-19 cases.
The source said: It really depends how effective we can be with test and trace. They are all over wanting to improve that.
They’re very clear what they have to do. All of this has to be working absolutely faultlessly by
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