A further 964 people have died with Covid, while an additional 55,892 cases of the virus were recorded.
The daily jump in cases is now the highest number ever recorded in the UK since the pandemic began. There were also 2,433 people admitted to hospital with Covid, government data showed.
There are now 23,813 patients being treated for the virus in hospitals across the country, 1,847 of whom require a ventilator. So far, 944,539 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
There were 420,492 Covid tests carried out in the 24 hours previous, with a capacity for 721,514.
Earlier today there were 529 hospital deaths recorded in England, and 65 in Wales. The Department for Health’s death total includes deaths across all settings in the UK, within 28 days of positive test.
The jump in cases comes as millions more people in England were plunged into tier four restrictions today, including the Midlands, the North East, parts of the North West and parts of the South West. All areas not in tier four are now in tier three, with the exception of the Isles of Scilly, which remains in tier one.
It is now considered likely that a national lockdown will take place before the end of January, an expert advising the government warned today,
Doctor Mike Tildesley, who is a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), which advises SAGE, told BBC Radio 4 today: ‘Cases are rising in a really concerning way, so I suspect that unfortunately we will see a ramping-up even further of restrictions, probably more of the country being in tier four or ultimately probably a national lockdown before we get to the end of January’.
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