The UK needs to act fast to stop coronavirus cases growing out of control as a 'trickle' of cases can turn into a 'cascade', warns an academic who advises the Government.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said that if people do not abide by the Government's 'rule of six' then the country faces going back into 'hard lockdown'.
His comments come as the Nightingale hospitals are reportedly on 'Covid standby' as coronavirus cases soar across Britain.
Boris Johnson's draconian new 'rule of six' is due to kick into force in England on Monday in stricter social distancing measures amid fears of a second wave.
Prof Openshaw, who is a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), added that the UK needs to act fast with even a delay of a few days being potentially 'dangerous'.
Peter Openshaw (above), who is a member of Government advisory board NERVTAG, said if people do not abide by Government's 'rule of six' then the country risks a 'hard lockdown'
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said 'vulnerable pockets' could lead to 'hospital admissions and deaths'. Above, NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London
NERVTAG advises the Government on the threat posed by new and emerging viruses.
Speaking on Sky's Ridge On Sunday, Prof Openshaw said: 'We know that these are very vulnerable pockets. It's not just in the younger people, it's starting to appear in people more vulnerable and that inevitably is going to be followed by hospital admissions and deaths so we need to act quickly.
'And this isn't a game. We shouldn't be out trying to party as hard as we can in the run up to Monday's lockdown.
'We should all be really thinking about what we can do now to slow down the spread.'
It comes as Britain recorded 3,497 new daily cases of coronavirus yesterday, marking the highest Saturday rise since May.
Nine more deaths were also recorded in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of people who died within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus to 41,623. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 365,174.
Speaking about the rise in cases, Prof Openshaw said: 'I think everyone is in agreement that we really need to act very quickly now in order to prevent this from growing exponentially.
'I think that's the main point is that we must act fast because it's so much harder to get this sort of thing under control if you delay.
'Even a few days is potentially going to be quite dangerous now at this particular moment.'
NHS Nightingale Hospitals's coronavirus wards (pictured, London ExCel) could reopen 'within weeks' in preparation for a second wave as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the UK
An NHS England spokesperson reportedly said that Nightingale Hospitals 'are on Covid standby'. Above, Matt Hancock opens the London ExCel temporarily facility on April 3
A key SAGE adviser also warned yesterday that England could lose control of coronavirus amid 'worrying' signs of Covid among middle-aged people, with infections in the over-50s soaring by 92 per cent in a week.
Professor Sir Mark Walport warned the public that England is on the brink of 'losing control' of the viral outbreak as he urged people to cut off contact with friends and family.
When Sophy Ridge asked Prof Openshaw if he believed Sir Mark is correct, he said: 'Well yes I think that is right.'
This comes as the NHS Nightingale Hospitals's coronavirus wards are reportedly set to reopen 'within weeks' as the infection rate rises across Britain.
Doctors have allegedly been told unofficially that emergency measures will be needed from October 2.
Nightingale Hospitals are being readied for a second wave as Covid cases continue to rise across the UK, the Mirror reported.
The temporary hospitals were built to help the NHS services handle the first wave of coronavirus and some are currently aiding the health service by conducting cancer screenings and routine ultrasound tests.
An NHS England spokesperson told the Mirror that Nightingale Hospitals 'are on Covid standby' in preparations for a potential second wave.
Britain has recorded 3,497 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, marking the highest Saturday rise since May, as SAGE warns that England is now on the brink of 'losing control' of a new Covid outbreak
Britain recorded 3,497 new daily cases of coronavirus on Saturday and also recorded nine new deaths from the previous 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 365,174
Boris Johnson's new 'rule of six' will be launched in England on Monday amid fears the reproduction 'R' rate could be as high as 1.7.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
According to Government advisers, the last time R number was above one was in early March.