Daily Covid-19 cases in the UK have exceeded 100,000 for the first time, the latest government figures show.
Some 106,122 cases were announced on Wednesday – the latest in a series of record-breaking days for infections.
The eight highest daily case figures since the pandemic began have all come since 15 December.
A total of 8,008 people were in hospital with coronavirus as of Tuesday, the highest since 22 November – but way down on last winter’s peak.
Boris Johnson has said no new restrictions will be introduced in england before Christmas. on Tuesday, the prime minister refused to rule out introducing fresh measures after Christmas with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
There were 140 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive Covid test on Wednesday.
A record 968,665 boosters and third doses were reported on Tuesday, with 6.1 million in the past week alone.
Wednesday’s daily reported cases figure is the highest since mass testing began in May and June last year.
The peak of hospital admissions during the second wave earlier this year was 39,254 on 18 January, nearly five times higher than the current levels.
However, hospitalisations and deaths are slower to show up in the figures, with changes generally observed after cases start to rise.
Preliminary studies from Scotland and South Africa appear to indicate Omicron may be milder than other variants, with fewer people needing hospital treatment.
Another broader analysis of the severity of Omicron from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is due to be released in the coming days.
The number of deaths of people with the Omicron variant in England has risen to 18, while hospital admissions with confirmed or suspected Omicron have risen to 195, the health authority’s latest figures show.
UK government vaccine advisers have recommended vulnerable children aged between five and 11 should be offered a low-dose Covid vaccine, as well as some older children getting boosters.
At the same time, people with Covid in England have had their self-isolation requirement reduced to one week from 10 days, if they can test negative on days six and seven.
The announcements come as the prime minister faces more calls to lay out plans for England, with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford saying the UK government was in a “state of paralysis” when he laid out new restrictions earlier.