BORIS Johnson has warned "we're not out of the woods yet" despite Covid cases tumbling for five days in a row, raising hopes the Delta wave peak is over.
The PM believes the rapid fall in infections is "encouraging" but insisted the pandemic "is not over" and Brits must still stay on their guard.
No 10 said the country should brace for another rise in cases as a result of dropping all restrictions on Freedom Day on July 19.
A Downing St spokesman said: "Throughout the pandemic we have always said it's encouraging when cases are falling."
But he added: "We should still expect to see a rise in case numbers given the move to Step 4 last week".
"The Prime Minister thinks we're not out of the woods yet."
Boris has been self-isolating at Chequers for the past 9 days after being in close contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid who caught the virus.
The PM will leave his quarantine and return to frontline duties tomorrow.
No 10's caution comes after experts said the five-day drop in cases is a "reassuring" sign the vaccines drive is defeating the virus.
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Britain is seeing a sustained fall in reported coronavirus cases outside of lockdown for the first time since the pandemic began.
The number of people testing positive for Covid plunged from 49,000 last Sunday to 29,173 yesterday, building hopes Brits may be past the worst.
And it's the first time cases have fallen below 30,000 since July 6.
The number of fatalities, however, was slightly higher, with 28 people losing their lives – three more than the previous Sunday.
Britain last saw five running days of dropping case numbers in February.
And the news suggests that claims Britain could hit 100,000 cases a day within weeks may not be realised.
We're not out of the woods yet
Today, Good Morning Britain medic Dr Hilary called the signs "really encouraging" – but warned "hospitalisations and deaths are on the rise".
"It is encouraging and we'll keep our fingers crossed, but the next week or two will be really critical," he said.
"We're seeing a lot more severe cases among younger people.
"It was a rarity to see people under 40 admitted to ICU at the beginning, but now, because of the large numbers of cases, we're seeing more of them."
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the Daily Mail.: "This is looking like a reassuring trend, after five days of these falling numbers.
"The fall is much more dramatic than expected. There have been several experts warning of a disaster, but these figures strongly suggest otherwise.
"It's too early to see any signal in the data from Freedom Day, which may increase transmission, but this data suggests that we are coming out of this wave.
"It's unlikely there will be any further surge from Freedom Day – if there is, it is likely only to be minor, and to probably last a matter of days."
Meanwhile, vaccines are believes to have reduced waves of Covid deaths to ripples.
For example, on January 19 – the peak of the second wave – 1,359 people were reported to have died, while 39,467 tested positive for the virus.
The third wave has so far peaked on July 19, when 71 lives were lost. However, on that day a massive 46,338 people tested positive.
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