- Coronavirus pandemic
Image source, EPA
Daily Covid-19 cases in the UK have exceeded 100,000 for the first time, the latest government figures show.
The 106,122 cases top the previous record for daily infections, when 93,045 were reported on 17 December.
A total of 8,008 people were in hospital with Covid-19 as of Tuesday, the highest level since 22 November and up 4% from a week ago.
Boris Johnson has said no new restrictions will be introduced in England before Christmas.
However, speaking on Tuesday, the prime minister refused to rule out introducing fresh measures after Christmas with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
There were 140 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive Covid test on Wednesday.
A record number of boosters and third doses were reported on Tuesday, with 968,665 delivered – taking the overall total to more than 30.8 million – with 6.1 million in the past week alone.
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The new daily reported cases figure is the highest since mass testing began in May and June last year.
The number of coronavirus cases has increased by 238,350 or 58.9% in the past seven days, compared with the previous week, while the number of daily deaths reported has decreased by 2.7% over the same period.
However hospital admissions and deaths are slower to show up in the figures, with changes generally observed after cases start to rise.
The peak of hospital admissions during the second wave earlier this year was 39,254 on 18 January.
Infections have remained at record levels in recent days, with eight of the 10 highest daily totals for reported cases coming since 15 December.
People with Covid in England have had their self-isolation requirement reduced to one week from 10 days, if they can test negative on days six and seven.
At the same time, UK government vaccine advisers have recommended vulnerable children aged between five and 11 should be offered a low-dose Covid vaccine, as well as boosters for 12 to 17-year-olds.
The other UK nations have already laid out plans for post-Christmas restrictions:
- In Wales groups of no more than six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants from Boxing Day
- Limits to gathering sizes in Scotland from Boxing Day have seen the cancellation of Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations and other large events
- Nightclubs in Northern Ireland will have to close on 27 December, the BBC understands, with other restrictions awaiting approval from ministers.
The announcements come as pressure mounts on the prime minister to lay out the government's plans for England.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford criticised the UK government for being in a "state of paralysis", as ministers disagree over whether further restrictions should be in place.
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