The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has risen, amid a warning cases are likely to increase as schools return after the summer break.
The latest Test and Trace figures show that 200,705 people tested positive for Covid-19 at least once in the week to August 18.
That is up 5% on the previous week, and the highest number of people testing positive since the week to July 21.
Separate figures suggest new daily symptomatic cases of the virus in the UK are up by almost a fifth on last week.
According to the Zoe Covid study there are, on average, currently 51,961 new daily cases of people with symptoms – a rise of 19% from 43,693 new cases last week.
Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the study, said the virus had “found an opportunity to spread” as restrictions were lifted this summer.
The professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London added: “Unfortunately, we’re back in a position where cases, hospitalisations and deaths are all going up and the UK has the highest rates of Covid in Europe, despite our superior vaccination rates.
“The main difference between the UK and Europe is our lack of restrictions. In many parts of Europe, people are still wearing face coverings and observing some social distancing.
“In the UK, where we eagerly declared ‘freedom’ from Covid and did away with even the most basic social measures, Covid has found an opportunity to spread.
“As kids head back to the classrooms, there’s a good chance cases will continue to rise from here.”
He added that the Zoe Covid study data suggested fully vaccinated people now make up nearly 30% of positive cases.
He said the study shows people infected after being double-jabbed are more likely to experience symptoms like a cold than flu and said it is “critical to be aware of the symptoms of Covid after vaccination”.
He added: “Our data shows post-vaccination infections are much more like a cold than the flu, with the top symptoms being runny nose, headache, sneezing, sore throat and loss of smell.
“We’re again calling on the Government to add these cold-like symptoms to their list to help educate the public and catch more cases.”