Another 122,186 new cases of Covid-19 have been announced – the third day in a row that the UK has hit a new record in daily infections.
The 24-hour number, up from 119,789 the previous day, comes after a record number of people who tested positive for Covid in the UK last week.
There have also been 137 deaths in the past 24 hours, numbers show, up from 147 on Thursday.
But new numbers also show that hospital admissions are still rising sharply, almost doubling in London from last week – although people with the Omicron variant are less likely to need hospital care.
A total of 386 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospitals in the capital on Wednesday, data from NHS England shows.
On that day at 8 a.m. that day there were 2,260 people with Covid-19 in hospital in London, the NHS said in England – the highest number since February 25.
The whole of England saw 1,246 admissions on Wednesday, up 55 percent from the week and the highest number in a single day since February 16.
The government plans to send out text messages urging the public to get a Covid booster vaccination during the holidays.
The guard said the government had asked the UK’s largest mobile operators – EE, O2, Vodafone and Three UK – to send a message on Boxing Day.
The newspaper added that the campaign, which would mean sending messages to tens of millions of customers, has not yet been definitively approved.
Around 1.7 million people in the UK are said to have contracted the coronavirus last week, with Omicron being responsible for the exceptionally rapid spread.
England had the highest proportion of cases, with one in 35 people testing positive, and rising to one in 20 in London.
Separate figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that 173,000 deaths have now been recorded in the UK with Covid-19 mentioned on death certificates.