Covid: UK records highest number of daily cases since pandemic began
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 Wednesday, a further 183,037 lab-confirmed cases were recorded in the UK, bringing the total to 12,559,926, the government said.
It is the first time since Christmas Eve that data on daily case numbers has been made available for all four UK nations.
The total includes reported figures for Northern Ireland covering a five-day period.
Wednesday's total breaks the previous record of 129,471 cases reported on Tuesday, which was incomplete due to staffing over Christmas holidays and did not include any data for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The government also said a further 57 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.
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Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 173,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
There are now 210,122 confirmed Omicron cases across the UK, after an additional 32,923 cases were reported on Wednesday, the UK Health Security Agency confirmed.
The latest figures come as Health Secretary Sajid Javid acknowledged that a global shortage of lateral flow and PCR tests is currently impacting the UK, after health leaders voiced concerns over low and "inconsistent" supplies.
Earlier in the day, pharmacy bosses had warned getting hold of lateral flow tests was becoming a "huge" problem, with people requesting them every five minutes over the Christmas period.
Labour has urged the government to fix the situation, describing it as a "shambles".
England reported 138,287 new cases of Covid on Wednesday and a further 38 deaths.
Some 15,849 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Scotland on Wednesday as well as another three deaths.
Wales reported two deaths from Covid on Wednesday and a further 5,929 new cases.
Northern Ireland reported 22,972 new cases of Covid on Wednesday and another 14 deaths.