PRIME Minister Boris Johnson is urging people to 'remember the basics' on coronavirus as he holds his first press conference since the summer recess.

He has also suggested a programme of mass testing with rapid results could be rolled out by next spring.

Speaking behind a lecturn with the words 'hands, face, space', Mr Johnson reminded residents to wash their hands, wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.

He also confirmed the new 'rule of six' - banning gatherings of more than six people - but confirmed some exceptions.

"It's clear that we must act and the most important thing for all of us is to remember the basics," Mr Johnson said.

"I know that over time the rules have become quite complicated and confusing.

"We are responding and we are simplifying and strengthening the rules, making them easier for everyone to understand and for the police to enforce."

Mr Johnson explained that single households or support bubbles with more than six are exempt.

Gyms, hospitality busineses and churches can hold more than six people but individual groups inside cannot include more than six people.

Places of work and education are unaffected, while weddings can go ahead up to 30 people.

Mr Johhnson also pointed out that 1.2 million tests are being carried out a week and capacity is increasing 'to meet rising demand'.

But he asked people to only book a test if they are suffering from symptoms, amid reports of people being sent far away to have Covid-19 tests.

Explaining the reasons for the new restrictions, Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said: "The numbers are now going up, and going up much more rapidly.

"In older people and in younger children, the rates remain really quite flat, but in some age groups the rates are now going up really quite sharply."

Prof Whitty pointed out the steepest rises are being seen in people aged from 20 to 29, followed by people aged 30 to 39, and then 10 to 19-year-olds.

He added that the numbers do not reflect a greater amount of testing.

Mr Johnson also hinted at a new system of 'mass testing'.

It would mean people could get a Covid-19 test result in 20 minutes, with the aim of working out if people are negative and can get on with their regular lives.

And the Prime Minister suggested that if work moves ahead quickly enough, theatres and other parts of the economy could be 'much closer to normal before Christmas'.

"Our plan, this moonshot, will require a giant collaborative effort," Mr Johnson added.

"Work is underway now and we will get on at pace.

"We are hopeful this approach will be widespread by the spring."