Daily Covid-19 cases in the UK exceed 100,000 for first time
Daily Covid-19 cases in the UK have exceeded 100,000 for the first time, the latest government figures show.
The 106,122 reported cases come as a study into the severity of Omicron is due to be released before Christmas.
A total of 8,008 people were in hospital with coronavirus 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 968,665 osboters and third doses were reported on Tuesday – taking the overall total to more than 30.8 million, with 6.1 million in the past week alone.
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The other UK nations have already laid out plans for post-Christmas restrictions.
Wednesday’s daily reported cases figure is the highest since mass testing began in May and June last year.
Infections have remained at record levels in the UK in recent days, with eight of the 10 highest daily totals for reported cases coming since 15 December.
The peak of hospital admissions during the second wave earlier this year was 39,254 on 18 January, nearly five times higher than the current levels.
However, hospital admissions and deaths are slower to show up in the figures, with changes generally observed after cases start to rise.
Preliminary studies from Scotland and South Africa appear to indicate Omicron may be milder than other variants, with fewer people needing hospital treatment.
Another broader analysis of the severity of Omicron from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is due to be released in the coming days.
The number of deaths of people with the Omicron variant in England has risen to 18, while hospital admissions with confirmed or suspected Omicron have risen to 195, the health authority’s latest figures show.
UK government vaccine advisers have recommended vulnerable children aged between five and 11 should be offered a low-dose Covid vaccine, as well as some older children getting boosters.
At the same time, 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.
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 26 December and hospitality venues must to return to table service only from 27 December
The announcements come as the prime minister faces more calls to lay out plans for England, with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford saying the UK government was in a “state of paralysis” when he laid out new restrictions earlier.