Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, the health secretary announced that 2,967 cases of the B1617.2 variant have now been identified, up from the 2,323 declared on Monday.
He added: "With more than 70% of adults now having had a first dose, and almost two-fifths already double-vaccinated, we have much to celebrate.
"Vaccination underpins our road map which means we can now have pints in pubs and hugs in homes."
His comments come as over the past 24-hour reporting period, a further 2,696 people have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Department for Health.
Three people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, bringing the UK death toll to 127,694, the latest figures show.
Here's how it looks across the nations:
In England, another 2,151 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the last reporting period.
Meanwhile, a further three deaths were reported, bringing the nation's death toll to 112,318.
A further 394 people have contracted coronavirus in the last 24 hours and there has been no more Covid-related deaths reported in the last day.
The number of people hospitalised with the virus is at 78, with four of those being treated in intensive care.
There have been a further 44 cases of coronavirus in Wales, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 212,316.
Public Health Wales reported no further deaths, with the total in the country since the start of the pandemic remaining at 5,560.