Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told the public that he wants to avoid another national lockdown.

At a briefing at Downing Street yesterday he said: "What we are not doing at the moment is going back to the situation we were in in March."

He said that infections are on the increase, but that it was too early to tell if recent area wide restrictions have been effective in stemming the spread of the virus.

Professor Chris Witty, the government's chief medical officer said cases are accelerating rapidly with young people leading the rise in several areas.

Figures revealed at the briefing showed that there had been a further 71 UK deaths and 7,108 new cases of Covid-19 recorded.

Mr Johnston said: "We face the sad reality that on these figures we can expect many more daily deaths and that is why we announced the package of restrictions and stronger enforcement last week.

"We have been intensifying the local lockdown's in areas where the disease has been flaring up."

He paid tribute to those communities and to students in particular and said there were plans in place to bring them back for Christmas, saying:

"I can assure you and everybody at universities that plans are being put in place to allow students home safely for Christmas."

The Prime Minister said the government is on target to conduct 500,000 tests a day by the end of October and added that there are 2,000 beds that can be available across seven nightingale hospitals with more if needed. He said there will be a four month stockpile of masks, visors, gowns and other essentials for winter.

He ended by saying that the best way forward to protect the NHS, save lives to keep our children in school and the economy moving is to follow the rules wherever we live.

Further updates will be delivered daily through conferences.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "The increase in the number of cases is very concerning.

"We all have a duty to follow the government rules. There has to be a national effort to prevent a national lockdown."