Covid: UK records highest number of daily cases since pandemic began

Despite the record number of cases, New Year's Eve parties in England will be able to go ahead, reports ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan

The UK has recorded its highest ever number of confirmed daily Covid-19 cases as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the country.

As of 9am on Tuesday, a further 129,471 lab-confirmed cases were recorded in the UK, the government said.

This breaks the previous record of 122,186 cases reported on Christmas Eve - but despite the soaring figures, Health Secretary Sajid Javid there will be no new restrictions before the new year in England.

The government also said another 18 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

However, the Covid data published on Tuesday is incomplete due to staffing over Christmas holidays and does not include any data for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The figures came as the NHS said England had recorded its highest number of Covid-19 hospital admissions since March 3.

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A total of 9,546 people were in hospital with coronavirus in England as of 8am on December 28 - up 38% from a week earlier, said NHS England.

During the second wave of coronavirus, the number peaked at 34,336 on January 18.

In London, 3,024 people were in hospital with the virus on December 28 - up 59% week-on-week and the highest number since February 19.

The number of Covid-19 admissions includes people admitted to hospital in the previous 24 hours who were known to have the virus, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with it in the previous 24 hours.

The implementation of any further Covid restrictions will be based on how the NHS copes in the coming weeks, explains ITV News' Shehab Khan

There are now 177,201 confirmed Omicron cases across the UK, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed.

Cases of the variant rose by 17,269 across England and Northern Ireland. No Omicron case numbers have been reported in Scotland or Wales since December 23.

Meanwhile, Wales is seeing its highest level of case rates since the start of the pandemic with the majority of new infections presenting in younger people.

Wales' leading doctor said the nation is seeing a "rapid rise" in Covid cases caused by the Omicron variant with around 6,000 new infections being confirmed daily and more than 910 cases per 100,000 people.

Dr Chris Jones, Wales’ deputy chief medical officer, said: "The majority of these are in younger people and we believe they would have been contracted before Christmas".

He urged people to get their booster vaccines and follow restrictions, adding: “This new variant is very transmissible – it spreads very quickly wherever people come together. Please take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones".


A further 117,093 confirmed cases and 15 deaths were recorded in England.


In Wales, another 12,378 positive tests were returned and three deaths were confirmed.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have not posted daily Covid figures during the festive period, meaning the UK-wide figures are incomplete.