The coronavirus transmission rate across the UK could now be as high as 1.5, according to government advisers.

The government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has estimated that the R number is between 1.2 and 1.5.

That is a significant leap from last week, when it was thought to be between 1.1 and 1.4

There was now a "widespread growth of the epidemic across the country", the group said.

The R number shows the average number of people each person with coronavirus goes on to infect.

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New coronavirus restrictions have not managed to stop people crowding on the streets

If it is below one then the coronavirus outbreak is under control and will eventually subside.

If it is above one, then the virus is likely spread at an exponential rate.

Data from a range of government sources shows coronavirus infections are surging dramatically at the moment.

According to Department of Health test data there were 6,634 new cases recorded across the UK on Thursday.

That is the largest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic.

Daily cases are soaring

The latest Covid Symptom Study app predicts that more than 16,000 people are catching the coronavirus each day.

Earlier this week Boris Johnson outlined several new measures designed to get the coronavirus infection rate under control.

In a direct appeal to the nation, the Prime Minister said the battle with coronavirus was "far from over" and urged the public to obey a long list of new restrictions - or risk stricter lockdown measures.

Mr Johnson said the new curbs on daily life were vital to preventing the virus from spiralling further out of control - and warned if people don’t follow the rules "then we must reserve the right to go further".

New rules include 10pm closing times for pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England from Thursday - with table service required by law.

The Government also put out an immediate order for people to work from home if they can - in a major u-turn on efforts to get office workers back to the workplace to curb the economic hit on town and city centres.