There have been 10 new cases of coronavirus in North Devon and Torridge since September 1 as senior health officials have urged the UK to take the virus seriously.

North Devon has seen seven new cases since September 1, with two on September 5, three on September 4 and one on each of the two days prior..

There have been three confirmed cases in Torridge since September 1, with one new case on September 2 and another two on September 5.

It takes the total number of confirmed cases across the two districts to 199, with 139 in North Devon and 60 in Torridge.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said on Monday that the public had ‘relaxed too much’ over the summer and said the rising number of cases in the UK were of ‘great concern’.

There were a further 2,948 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Monday, following the 2,988 reported on Sunday, which was the largest daily figure since May.

In an interview with journalists, Prof Van-Tam said: “This is a big change. It’s now consistent over two days and it’s of great concern at this point.

“We’ve been able to relax a bit over the summer, the disease levels have been really quite low in the UK through the summer but these latest figures really show us that much as people might like to say ‘oh well it’s gone away’ - this hasn’t gone away.

“And if we’re not careful, if we don’t take this incredibly seriously from this point in we’re going to have a bumpy ride over the next few months.”

He said that the rise is ‘much more marked’ in the 17-21 age group, but noted there is a ‘more general and creeping geographic trend’ across the UK.

“People have relaxed too much,” Prof Van-Tam said. “Now is the time for us to re-engage and realise that this is a continuing threat to us.”

He urged politicians and public health officials to think how to manage the crisis not in the short term but through “the next six months and how we get through this until the spring”.

The professor added that it was ‘clear’ that the level of compliance with restrictions ‘is very variable indeed’.