Coronavirus cases in England have risen by 60% in the past week, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggest.
A random survey estimated there were 9,600 new cases a day in England in the week to 19 September, three times that being picked up by general testing.
And it represents an increase from 6,000 a day, according to the same survey conducted the previous week.
Infections rates are highest in the north west of England and in London.
The population-wide estimates are based on testing a representative sample of people with or without symptoms.
It is different to the number published daily by the Department of Health and Social Care. That records positive cases in people with potential Covid symptoms who request tests.
And in the week up to 19 September, the DHSC data showed roughly 3,000 positive tests a day in England – a total of 23,378.
In contrast, the ONS survey suggest there were actually 103,600 people in England with the virus, equating to an estimated one in 500 people in private homes.
The number does not include cases in hospitals and care homes.
‘Clear evidence’ of increase
In Wales, cases appear to have risen dramatically but because there are fewer people in the sample, there is a lot of uncertainty around the precise figure.
But central estimates suggest they could have risen almost seven-fold, from 1,500 people in total having Covid the previous week to more than 10,000.
The ONS has also begun surveying people in Northern Ireland, where early figures suggest one in 300 people had the virus in the period 6-19 September.
These figures only take us up to the end of last week, and such may be an underestimate of the current situation.
Cases have been rising over the past few weeks, and have begun to translate to a rise in hospital admissions.
The ONS said there was “clear evidence” of an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in all age groups, but rates are currently highest in those aged 17-24.
Infection rates are highest across the north of England and in London, with smaller increases seen in the Midlands.