The reproduction "R" rate of Covid-19 infections in the UK has risen to 1.2-1.5 as cases jumped by 60 per cent in a week where more than 100,000 people were estimated to have the virus in England.
London was placed onto the government's coronavirus watchlist on Friday as mayor Sadiq Khan warned the capital was at a "tipping point" while Leeds was expected to face new restrictions from midnight on Friday.
No area of England can be considered "low risk", according to the Department for Health and Social Care after the long-delayed launch of the NHS Test and Trace App.
In Wales, the government announced Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelli were to go into lockdown from Sunday. The new restrictions will cover around 1.5 million people, nearly half the country's population. Wale’s health minister Vaughan Gething urged people not to have a “big blowout” ahead of the introduction of new restrictions.
Scotland saw a daily record number of cases on Friday with a total of 558 people testing positive for Covid-19 in 24 hours.
Positive cases jumped by an estimated 60 per cent in England in one week, according to a survey from the Office for National Statistics that also found an estimated 103,600 people had the virus in the week from 13-19 September.
Meanwhile, the UK’s largest supermarket chain began rationing key items in an effort to prevent a return to shortages seen during the early stage of the pandemic.
Tesco has introduced a three-items per customer limit on flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes, a measure the supermarket chain said was to “ensure everyone can keep buying what they need”. Morrisons had introduced similar rationing measures on Thursday.
A new phase three trial for a vaccine was launched by US biotech company Novavax , marking the second phase three trial to take place in the UK.
Ten thousand people will be invited to take part in the new phase of the trial at locations including London, Glasgow, Belfast and Greater Manchester.