A leading virologist has warned the UK is probably already close to 100,000 coronavirus cases per day.

However a government minister has once again insisted that now is not the right time to trigger Plan B despite the concern around rising infection rates.

Health minister Edward Argar said the government thinks people should still be able to make their own “educated judgments” when it comes to issues such as wearing face masks, adding that Plan A for tackling the virus “is still working”.

It came as leading virologist Dr Chris Smith said the UK is probably already close to 100,000 cases a day, while Professor Adam Finn said it is wrong to see the current death toll as acceptable.

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Dr Smith, from the University of Cambridge, told BBC Breakfast that around half of Covid cases are asymptomatic.

“So probably, with detected cases at 50,000, we’re probably already close to 100,000 cases a day anyway, we just don’t know about lots of them,” he said.

“We are looking very hard, we’re doing more than a million tests a day now, but probably we do have really high levels bordering on that sort of number at the moment.”

Dr Smith added: “The trend at the moment in cases is upwards, but the more reassuring trend for the moment is how many people are becoming severely unwell, how many people are losing their lives and that number, thankfully, does remain very, very low, and that’s a direct testimony to the performance of the vaccines.”

On Wednesday evening Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged the public at a Downing Street press conference to play its part, saying further restrictions may be needed if people do not take care and get all their Covid jabs and boosters.