Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned the UK is at a “tipping point” in the fight against coronavirus as he rejected calls to apologise for the chaos in the testing system.
“Now is the moment,” Mr Hancock said as he urged the public to follow strict measures designed to break the chain of infection or face further restrictions.
He refused to rule out further national restrictions, but said he wanted to avoid them if the government possibly could.
“I’m requesting the help of the British people. We truly have got to do this together,” he told the Sophy Ridge programme on Sky New.
“Every single viewer has a choice on whether we end up with this virus out of control”.
“The first line of defence is people’s behaviour,” he said.
Mr Hancock said it was understandable that members of the public had become more relaxed about the virus over the summer.
“But now is the moment, “ he said, “when everyone needs to get back to the rule of six, to (guidance on) ‘hands, face, space’”.
"We have a choice. Either everybody follows the rules - the rule of six and the need to self-isolate if you have a positive test or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace - or we will have to take more measures.”
He said that he was “very worried” about a second wave of the pandemic hitting the UK.
On Friday Boris Johnson warned Britain was “now seeing a second wave” of Covid-19.
Mr Hancock pointed to Belgium, which he said had seen signs of a second wave but had managed to get the disease under control with more restrictions on socialising.
He also said he would report on his neighbours if they broke the rules “and everybody should”, in a break with Boris Johnson who last week said he would contact the offenders first.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer warned a "national lockdown is more likely because testing is all over the place” as he called for ministers to apologise for the under fire NHS Test and Trace service.
Ministers have admitted problems in the system will take weeks to solve after thousands struggled to get a test.
Sir Keir also called on Boris Johnson to reinstate the Downing Street daily press briefings amid fears the virus is out of control again.