Covid cases in England reached a new high of 113,628 on Christmas Day and 1,281 people were admitted to hospital – the highest daily figure since mid-February.
Official data on new Covid cases, which was delayed over the festive period, also showed 98,515 new confirmed cases in England on Monday. Data for Boxing Day from England and Wales combined reveals 108,893 daily cases.
Case numbers have also hit new highs in Scotland, where 8,252 cases were confirmed for Christmas Day, 11,030 on Boxing Day and 10,562 on Monday.
Hospital admissions have also risen, with 1,281 people admitted in England on Christmas Day – the most recent available figure – up from 1,020 the day before and 735 on 18 December. Hospital admissions in England were at their highest on 12 January, when they reached 4,134.
The number of patients in hospital is rising too. There were 8,474 people were in hospital with Covid in England on Monday, up from 7,536 the day before. At the height of the wave last winter the figure was more than 34,000.
Politicians are watching the situation in London closely, because infection rates are particularly high in the capital. Downing Street has been hopeful that if admissions in London stay below 400 a day, restrictions will not be needed.
According to the latest data, 364 patients were admitted to hospital with Covid on Christmas Day in London, down slightly from a high of 390 admitted on 23 December. The number of people in hospital in the city has, however, continued to rise, with 2,640 patients recorded for 27 December.
Experts have said data for the period around Christmas may not give a true picture of the current situation.
“Data will be unreliable over the festive period as testing and hospital admission patterns change. This will make it difficult to interpret any apparent trends over the next few days,” documents released on Thursday by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said.