Coronavirus cases are rising again across the UK as the highly contagious Delta variant appears to be tightening its grip and as new cases of the Lambda variant have been identified.
On Friday, the UK confirmed 15,810 new cases and 18 deaths in the previous 24 hours, with cases rising to levels not seen since April, when the country was in a tighter lockdown.
The UK said on Friday that it had identified six cases of a new coronavirus variant known as Lambda, which was first identified in Peru.
The cases in the UK - four in London, one in south-west England and one in the West Midlands - are linked to overseas travel, and no deaths have been reported.
The prevalence of Covid infections in England is estimated to have risen to 1 in 440 people in the week to June 19, from 1 in 520 the week before, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.
There were 122,500 people in England who were estimated to have had Covid-19 during that week, the statistics office said, up from 105,000.
Despite the spreading cases, the figures are still significantly lower from a peak in January.
England's R-value – the rate at which the disease spreads - remained at between 1.2 and 1.4, latest estimates show, meaning each case will infect between 12 and 14 others.
By July 5, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government must decide whether it is safe to lift lockdown restrictions scheduled for July 19.
The government already suspended the easing of restrictions, originally scheduled for mid-June, as a spike in cases, partly blamed on the Delta variant, was observed.
The new cases announced on Friday compare to 16,703 cases the previous day and 10,476 the previous week. The number of deaths were 21 and 11 respectively.