The UK’s Covid R rate has risen to between 1.1 and 1.3, according to government data, ahead of a press conference from Matt Hancock at 3pm.
This means that on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 13 other people.
The data also reveals that the number of new infections is growing by between 1 per cent and six per cent every day.
London and the East of England have the highest R rates in the country. Both are estimated at between 1.2 and 1.5. London has a growth rate of between four and eight per cent per day.
On Tuesday, the UK recorded 36,804 positive cases, the largest number of daily cases yet. However, the number of cases is thought to have been higher during the first wave when there was limited testing.
London and many surrounding areas entered tier four last week, cancelling Christmas gatherings for many. The tighter restrictions were announced amid news that a more transmissible variant of Covid was causing a spike in cases.
It is believed that other areas will be placed under tier four restrictions from Boxing Day.