The UK is entering a “period of particular concern” as the number of coronavirus cases were increasing across the country, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Tuesday.
“The virus is still very much with us, it’s still concerning,” he told the BBC.
Jenrick said if people followed the government’s guidance “we should be able to continue to control the virus but we’re going to have to be especially cautious as we go into the autumn and winter”.
“If we all play our own part then we should be able to maintain our daily lives in this sort of new normal but we’ve got to be very cautious because, as you’ve seen, the number of cases is rising.”
His remarks come after 2,948 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the UK on Monday, which took the overall number to 352,451 .
The seven-day rate of new infections in the UK has now risen above 20 cases per 100,000 people.
On Sunday 2,988 new cases were announced, which was the highest figure since May 22.
Jenrick added there was a particular responsibility on younger people to follow government guidelines on Covid-19, so that infection rates would not spike again.
“We have to keep hammering the message home. Of course the people in those age categories are unlikely to become extremely unwell as a result of having the virus.
“But they are able to pass it on to others,” he told the BBC.
“There’s a responsibility on younger people to not just stay at home, obviously to go out and go to work and to enjoy pubs and restaurants, but to do so in accordance with the guidelines.”
His comments follow Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s warning that the UK could see a second spike in coronavirus cases if young people do not follow the rules.
Meanwhile, more parts of the UK are to face tougher restrictions following a rise in the number of cases.
In Wales, the county borough of Caerphilly is to be placed under a local lockdown from 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Stricter rules on visiting other people’s homes were also extended to two more areas in the west of Scotland from Tuesday midnight.