'AFFLUENT' young people aged between 17 and 21 are responsible for the spike in the UK's coronavirus cases – because they're not socially distancing, the Health Secretary says.
Matt Hancock told radio interviewers the dramatic rise in positive tests has been pinpointed overnight to people aged under 25 living in some of the country's richest areas.
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It comes after the UK recorded almost 3,000 new cases yesterday – numbers not seen since May 22.
However, the death rate remains low, with some experts claiming the deadly bug is becoming less dangerous.
Two more people lost their lives to the virus yesterday, bringing the death toll to 41,551.
In an interview early this morning with LBC, Mr Hancock said the rise was a worry.
"The rise in the number of cases we have seen in the last few days is concerning," he admitted.
"It is concerning because we have seen a rise in cases in France, in Spain, in some other countries across Europe – nobody wants to see a second wave here.
"It just reinforces the point that people must follow the social distancing rules, they are so important."
When asked if people were not following the rules he added: "We certainly see cases where they are not, and then we take action."
And many new cases are often linked, he said – adding that in Bolton, an outbreak was tied to a single pub which has been asked to close.
"We are seeing problems with social distancing. The rise in cases is largely among younger people, under 25s, especially between 17 and 21," he said.
"The message is that even though you are at lower risk of dying of Covid if you are of that age, you can still have really serious symptoms and consequences.
"Also, you can infect other people."
"Inevitably it leads to older people catching it from them [the young].
"Spreading the disease amongst young people leads to older people getting it.
"It is important for everybody to wash your hands and follow social distancing. It's 'hands, face, space.'
"We will take action if people go to big social events that are completely inappropriate in a time of coronavirus."
And during the same interview, he told presenter Nick Ferrari officials aren't confident of a vaccine this year.
He said the "best case" would see a treatment in 2020 – but the "most likely" scenario is for the first few months of next year.
The Government is understood to be particularly hopeful about Oxford University's attempts, which will be manufactured and distributed by Brit firm AstraZeneca if successful.
And Mr Hancock said he hopes to have widespread rapid testing in place for Christmas, raising hopes social distancing could come to an end.
It comes after police around the country struggled to deal with wild raves as cooped-up Brits ignore Government orders.
Last weekend, cops faced 30 HOURS of work to shut down a rave in Wales.
Elsewhere, eight people were fined £10,000 in Yorkshire after officers broke up several parties taking place in Headingley and Burley.
At one house party, two DJs were fined £10,000 and had their equipment seized while those in attendance were find £100.
And during the summer, police were forced to shut down part of London over a huge illegal party.
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