A further 39,036 confirmed coronavirus cases have been recorded in the UK – the second-highest daily total to date – according to government figures.
The only day which has surpassed this daily figure was Wednesday, when 39,237 new cases were confirmed.
However, it is important to note the amount of testing has increased in the last week from around 400,000 tests per day to 500,000. This does not account for the total increase in cases but will contribute to the rise.
Another 574 people have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is also nearly at the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic.
A total of 21,286 patients were in hospital as of 22 December, which is only slightly lower than the record 21,683 patients on 12 April at the peak of the pandemic.