England reports record daily COVID cases – as numbers also reach highest ever level in Scotland over Christmas


England has reported another record number of daily coronavirus cases, with 117,093 new infections.

It breaks the previous record of 113,628, which was set on Christmas Day.

Another 15 deaths have also been reported in England, according to the government’s dashboard.

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‘Restaurants have been pretty full’

However, the dashboard still shows no data from over the Christmas period for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The latest data for Wales shows 12,378 new cases on Christmas Day and Boxing Day combined, with three deaths.

All of this means today’s UK figure is 129,471 – but it’s heavily skewed as it combines the aforementioned England and Wales data with nothing from the rest of the UK.

Separately, Scotland’s health authorities have released their official figures for the festive period, with the daily totals the highest recorded since the start of the pandemic.

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Scotland recorded 8,252 cases on Christmas Day, 11,030 cases on Boxing Day, 10,562 on 27 December, and 9,360 on 28 December.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the figures “remain provisional” but there is now a “steep increase” in cases.

Latest vaccine and hospital figures

Meanwhile, a further 215,703 people in England and Northern Ireland have been given a third or booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

And 18,965 more have been given a second dose, while 16,357 have had a first jab. There is no update available for vaccinations in Scotland and Wales.

The new data comes after it was announced the number of people in hospital with the virus in England now stands at 9,546.

During the second wave of coronavirus, the number peaked at 34,336 on 18 January.

England and Northern Ireland also recorded 17,269 new Omicron cases. Hospital admissions in England for people with or confirmed or suspected Omicron now stands at 668.

Wales has not reported any Omicron figures yet due to the festive period, while Scotland no longer separates Omicron cases from other variants in its daily reports.

Despite the rise in hospitalisations, yesterday the government announced there would be no fresh restrictions in England this side of 2022.

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people should “remain cautious” when taking part in New Year’s celebrations – and take a lateral flow test before attending events.

He did not rule out the possibility of any further restrictions being introduced in January.

One of the potential restrictions being considered would be the return of the “rule of six”, which would limit gatherings to six people or two households, according to The Telegraph.

However, one scientist has said the “horrific scenes” seen during the last COVID-19 wave are unlikely to be repeated.

Professor Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said that since the vaccination programme there has been no increase in the incidence of severe illness and death from COVID.

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“The horrific scenes that we saw a year ago – intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely – that is now history in my view and I think we should be reassured that that’s likely to continue,” he told BBC radio.

“The health minister has taken advice and looked at the data. I think his judgment where we should go in the next few days is probably fine,” he added.