Covid live: most hospitalisations in England since February on Boxing Day; Denmark has highest global infection rate | World news

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Covid cases in the UK have reached a record high, with 129,471 new cases reported on Tuesday in England and Wales, as the Omicron variant continues to fuel a winter wave of infections.

While official data was not provided for Scotland and Northern Ireland, a record 117,093 cases – infections that are picked up through testing – were reported for England, up from a previous high of 113,628 on Christmas Day.

Despite the incomplete nature of the data, the total number of cases reported on Tuesday for England and Wales is higher than the previous record for the entire UK.

The UK Health Security Agency reported 17,269 additional confirmed cases of the Omicron variant across England and Northern Ireland, with the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to date at 177,201 – although such figures are a significant underestimate.

Data from NHS England released on Tuesday revealed that the number of patients in hospital had risen by more than 1,000 in the space of a day, with 9,546 beds occupied by people with Covid on Tuesday, compared with 8,474 the day before – although some trusts, thought to have about 220 Covid patients in total based on recent submissions, did not report their figures for Monday.

Tuesday’s figure is a 38% increase on that reported on 21 December and the highest since 3 March, although still far below the peak last winter of more than 34,000.

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UK reports highest daily cases of 129,471

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Severin Carrell, Scotland editor

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has predicted that Omicron case numbers will continue to rise in Scotland as she prepared to address Holyrood about further possible restrictions on Wednesday.

The latest provisional data showed 9,360 new cases were recorded in Scotland on Tuesday, after a record daily high of 11,030 recorded on Boxing Day, with 10,562 cases detected on Monday. Confirmed daily case numbers for the Christmas period are expected to be published on Wednesday.

Jason Leitch, the Scottish government’s national clinical director, told the BBC earlier the present Omicron wave was likely to peak in mid to late January across the UK, or possibly early February. He said it may yet become an “enormous wave” dwarfing the current case numbers.

“The modelling suggests that we won’t see the big numbers, and that seems terrifying, having [9,000] to 10 and 11,000, you won’t see the big numbers for two to three weeks yet,” he said.

Sturgeon urged people to take up the offer of booster vaccinations and to act as cautiously as possible this week, particularly around Hogmanay and New Year’s Day. Many organised Hogmanay events have been cancelled.

She said:


While these figures remain provisional, the significantly increased transmissibility of Omicron is reflected in the steep increase in cases now materialising, and we would expect to see case numbers rise further in the days to come.

[We] must not underestimate the impact of Omicron. Even if the rate of hospitalisation associated with it is lower than past strains of the virus, case numbers this high will still put an inevitable further strain on the NHS, and create significant levels of disruption due to sickness absence across the economy and critical services.

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England recorded highest number of Covid hospitalisations since early February on Boxing Day

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Denmark becomes country with world’s highest Covid infection rate

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Hello, I’m Jedidajah Otte and I’ll be taking over for a while. As always, don’t hesitate to flag anything you think we should be covering, you can reach me on Twitter @JedySays or via email.








Tuesday summary

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UK reports 17,269 new Omicron cases amid PCR test waits and LFT shortages

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