Covid-19 infections in England and Wales are continuing to rise, with a 14 per cent increase in just one week, according to official figures.
Around 1.1 million people in the UK are likely to have tested positive for the virus in the past week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The figure was 927,900 in the previous survey, which covered the week to September 14.
Sarah Crofts, ONS deputy director for the Covid-19 infection survey, said it is “too early to identify whether this is the start of a new wave”.
But professor Tim Spector, co-founder of the Zoe Health Study which is based on coronavirus symptoms reported by volunteers across the country, said on Thursday the trend was “clear”.
“We're now seeing an autumn wave of Covid-19, combined with increases in hospital admissions,” he said.
Separate figures from the NHS show the number of people in hospital in England with Covid-19 stood at 7,024 on September 28, up 37 per cent week-on-week.
The increase in new cases means it is the first time the UK-wide total has been above one million since late August, though it is still some way below the 3.8 million weekly infections in early July.
In England, the number of people testing positive in the week to September 17 was 857,400, or around one in 65 — up from 766,500, or one in 70.
In Wales, 62,900, or one in 50 people, up from 39,700, or one in 75, are estimated to have the virus.
The percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus has risen in all regions of England except the East Midlands, North East and South West, where the trend in the most recent week was uncertain.
All age groups in England are estimated to have seen an increase.
Infection rates are highest among over-70s, and lowest among children between the age of two and school Year 6, which is age 10 or 11.