The UK could see a second spike in coronavirus cases if young people don’t follow social distancing rules, the health secretary says.
A third of all cases in England last week were people aged between 20 and 29.
“The numbers have been have been going up. And we’ve seen in other countries where this leads, and it is not a good place,” Matt Hancock says.
Students starting university this month is a “concern”, he adds.
Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat the health secretary pointed to France and Spain, “where that second wave started largely amongst younger people, it then spreads”.
“And now we’re seeing a sharp rise in the number of people in hospital and the number of people who are dying in those countries.
“That hasn’t happened here yet. And if people follow the social distancing rules, then we can stop that from happening here.”
Rise in tests and new cases
On Sunday the government announced 2,988 new cases – the highest figure since 22 May.
Experts are monitoring infection rates around the UK and imposing restrictions in places where coronavirus numbers are climbing.
Leeds has been added to the lockdown watchlist. Officials said there had been a increase in music events, house parties and illegal raves in the city.
Meanwhile, up to 300 people who attended a charity football match near Sunderland have been asked to self-isolate for two weeks after 28 people who attended the event tested positive.
And a school in Suffolk has closed after five members of teaching staff tested positive.
‘Idea young people are immune is wrong’
The health secretary stressed how serious coronavirus can be for young people, even though they are less likely to die or get seriously ill.
“Long Covid is really serious. And people can be in a bad way for months and months and months,” he says.
“The second really important message is that younger people spread the disease, even if they don’t have symptoms.
“Don’t kill your granny by catching coronavirus and then passing it on. And you can pass it on before you’ve had any symptoms at all.”