Those feeling under the weather are being warned they could be suffering from Covid after it was found another symptom is more common than loss of taste and smell.

It comes as cases rise across the UK, with professor Tim Spector, co-founder of the Covid Symptom Study app, warning that government advice about symptoms could be inaccurate.

He told the Independent the UK is currently at the start of a new wave of the virus, which has started affecting older people earlier than in the first wave.

Mr Spector said: "At the moment, Covid starts in two-thirds of people with a sore throat. Fever and loss of smell are really rare now – so many old people may not think they’ve got Covid. They’d say it’s a cold and not be tested.

"With rates on the rise, especially in the vulnerable elderly age groups, the impact on hospitalisations could be higher. However, the youngest age group are showing possible early signs of case numbers slowing.

"Children tend to be a leader of infection trends, so if this continues next week it is possible that the Covid wave might not be as bad as previously predicted."

It comes after new figures last week showed infections in England and Wales are continuing to increase.

The rise means the total number of infections in the UK has also gone up, though the trend in Scotland and Northern Ireland is unclear.

More than one million people in private households across the UK are likely to have tested positive for coronavirus in the latest survey, which covers the seven days to September 17 in England and the week to September 20 in the other three nations, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the first time the UK-wide total has been above one million since late August, though it is still some way below the 3.8 million weekly infections in early July at the peak of the wave caused by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the virus.

The figures come as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 is also continuing to rise.