Speaking to MPs on Thursday, June 10, Matt Hancock said this figure was ascertained from an assessment he saw “last night”.
The Delta variant was first detected in India and is believed to be around 40 to 60 percent more transmissible than the Kent mutation detected in winter last year.
The rise in cases since February has been attributed to this variant, with more than 7,000 cases reported on both June 9 and 10 this week for the first time in weeks.
PHE medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said: “Once again we are seeing cases rapidly rise across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant.
“The increase is primarily in younger age groups who are yet to receive the vaccine and we are seeing more hospital admissions.
“The vaccine rollout is a huge success, however, there are many millions who still need one or two doses and protection is not immediate.”