The number of people in hospital in England with coronavirus has doubled in the past two weeks alongside a sharp rise in confirmed cases.
Government figures published on Tuesday showed that 884 people are currently being treated in hospital for the virus compared with just 425 a fortnight ago.
Official figures also revealed 3,105 new cases on Tuesday, more than double 1,508 confirmed new cases 14 days ago on 2 September.
The overall UK tally has now risen to 374,228 infections.
Cases were above 3,000 on three consecutive days over the weekend with 3,330 reported in the UK on Sunday and 3,497 on Saturday – the highest daily rise in four months.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said last month: “The admissions data is a crucial point. I'd say it is more important than the death data because it is the best marker of the impact of the disease.'
"If admissions are going up, then that should drive the lockdown.
"But currently you have people with active infections, those who have tested positive but have been discharged, and those who have contracted it in hospital, so it isn't helpful.”
A total of 27 new deaths were also reported on Tuesday, bringing the official national total to 41,664 – the highest of any country in Europe.
But other figures from earlier this month show that weekly registered deaths fell below one hundred for the first time since the lockdown, in part due to the August bank holiday.
There were 78 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 4 September, 23 fewer than the previous week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The bank holiday on 31 August would have contributed to a lower number of deaths registered that week, it said.
Its data shows dips in registered deaths from all causes in the weeks ending 8 May and May 29 - which both contained bank holidays.
It is the 20th consecutive week that the number of registered deaths involving coronavirus has fallen.
Earlier on Tuesday, Matt Hancock was told the government's testing system is a "bloody mess" as MPs highlighted the struggles faced by people to secure one.
The health secretary told the Commons there are "operational challenges" with testing which the government is "working hard" to fix.
He also insisted the average distance travelled to a test site is now 5.8 miles, adding it is "inevitable" demand rises when a "free service" is available.
Hancock defended the government's approach following questions from his Labour counterpart Jon Ashworth, telling MPs: "We'll deliver on the challenges today, I don't deny those challenges, but what I do is face the facts to deliver on those challenges rather than simply complaining."