A large amount of Covid-19 data has been published on Thursday ahead of Christmas, including the latest infection levels, antibody estimates, absences for hospital staff and local vaccine take-up, along with the usual daily numbers for cases, hospital admissions and deaths.
Here is a summary of all the key figures:
– UK vaccinations
A total of 840,038 booster and third doses of Covid-19 vaccine were reported in the UK on Wednesday – the lowest daily figure since December 15.
Some 31,684,926 booster and third doses have now been delivered in the UK, with 6,207,581 in the past seven days.
The total number of first doses of vaccine now stands at 51,617,091, while the total for second doses is 47,210,053, Government figures show.
– Covid-19 infection levels
Nearly 1.4 million people in private households in the UK had Covid-19 in the week ending December 16, the highest estimate since comparable figures began in autumn 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This includes just over 1.2 million people in England, or around one in 45 – up from one in 60 in the previous week.
In London, the latest estimate is even higher, at one in 30.
In Wales, around one in 55 people is estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to December 16, unchanged from the previous week, while in Northern Ireland the latest estimate is one in 50 people, also unchanged from the previous week.
For Scotland, the latest estimate is one in 70, up from one in 80.
– Cases and deaths
There were 119,789 new cases of Covid-19 in the UK reported on Thursday: the highest number reported on a single day since the pandemic began.
Case numbers reported in the first wave of the pandemic in spring 2020 underestimated the true scale of the virus, as only a small number of people were being tested, mostly in hospitals and care homes.
But the latest total is far higher than any of the daily figures reported during the second wave last winter.
The average number of Covid-19 deaths reported each day currently stands at 112, down from 115 a week ago and 122 at the start of December. These figures include only those people who died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.
– Test and Trace
A record 464,667 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to December 15, up 47% on the previous week, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.
This is the highest number to test positive in a single week since the Test and Trace scheme began in May 2020.
– Covid-19 antibodies
Covid-19 antibody levels among adults in the UK are estimated to have reached a record high.
Some 95.0% of the adult population of England is likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week beginning November 29, along with 95.0% in Scotland, 95.3% in Northern Ireland and 93.6% in Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
These are the highest figures for all four nations since the ONS began estimating antibody levels in December 2020.
There has been an increase in antibody positivity in those aged 65 and over across the UK since early October 2021, which the ONS said was “likely as a result of the vaccination booster programme”.
The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated – though it can take between two and three weeks after infection or vaccination for the body to make enough antibodies to fight the virus.
– Covid-19 case rates
Of the 377 local authority areas in the UK, 362 (96%) have recorded a week-on-week rise in the rate of new cases of Covid-19, while only 15 (4%) recorded a fall.
Lambeth in London continues to have the highest rate in the UK, with 9,879 new cases in the seven days to December 19 – the equivalent of 3,069.8 per 100,000 people.
This is up from a rate of 974.8 in the seven days to December 12.
Wandsworth in London has the second highest rate, up from 923.8 to 2,956.0, while Hackney & City of London has the third highest rate, up from 863.4 to 2,666.2, with 7,782 new cases.
West Lothian has the highest rate in Scotland (1,104.3, up from 689.8); Cardiff has the highest rate in Wales (900.3, up from 474.0); and Ards & North Down has the highest rate in Northern Ireland (876.9, up from 724.4).
– Vaccine take-up in care homes and local areas
More than six in 10 care home staff in England have not received a booster jab, NHS England figures suggest.
Some 37.6% of staff in care homes for older residents and 33.5% of staff in homes for younger adults had received a booster as of December 19.
This leaves more than 340,000 staff who have not been recorded as having had their booster.
The proportion of residents who have been boosted is much higher, standing at 82.3% of older residents and 68.7% of younger residents.
Meanwhile there are 42 local authorities in England where less than two-thirds of people aged 40 and over are estimated to have not had a booster or third dose of vaccine.
Take-up is lowest in Tower Hamlets in London, where only 43.1% of over-40s are estimated to have received an extra dose, followed by Westminster (46.6%) and the City of London & Hackney (47.6%).
By contrast, Stratford-on-Avon has take-up of 89.9% – the highest for any local authority in England – with Hambleton in North Yorkshire on 86.1% and Hart in Hampshire on 85.8%.
– Hospital admissions and patients
A total of 2,097 people were in hospital in London with Covid-19 as of 8am on December 23, according to NHS England.
This is the highest number since February 27 and is up 44% from a week earlier – although during the second wave of coronavirus the number peaked at 7,917, on January 18.
Across England, 7,114 patients were in hospital with Covid-19 on December 23, the highest number since November 4 and up 11% week-on-week.
The second-wave peak for England was 34,336 on January 18.
There were 307 Covid-19 admissions recorded by hospitals in London on December 21, up 54% week-on-week and the highest number for a single day since February 4.
Admissions in London during the second wave peaked at 977 on January 6.
Across England, 1,098 admissions were recorded on December 21, up 35% week-on-week and the highest number for a single day since February 18.
The second-wave peak was 4,134 admissions on January 12.
– Hospital staff absences
A total of 3,874 NHS staff at acute hospital trusts in London were absent for Covid-19 reasons on December 19, more than double the number a week earlier (1,540) and more than three times the number at the start of the month (1,174), according to new figures from NHS England.
The total includes staff who were ill with Covid-19 or who were having to self-isolate.
Across England as a whole, 18,829 NHS staff at acute trusts were absent due to Covid-19 reasons on December 19, up 54% from 12,240 a week earlier and up 51% from 12,508 at the start of the month.
– Ambulance handover delays
One in five patients waited at least half-an-hour to be handed over from ambulance teams to A&E staff at hospitals in England last week.
A total of 16,410 delays of 30 minutes or more were recorded across all acute trusts in the week to December 19, representing 20% of all arrivals, according to NHS England figures.
This is down slightly from 23% of arrivals in the week to December 12.
Some 7% of arrivals last week (6,124) took more than 60 minutes to be handed over to A&E teams, down from 10% in the previous week.
A handover delay does not always mean a patient has waited in the ambulance. They may have been moved into an A&E department but staff were not available to complete the handover.
Analysis by the PA news agency shows University Hospitals Birmingham reported the highest number of ambulance handover delays of more than 30 minutes in the week to December 19 (760), followed by Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospitals (523), North West Anglia (489), University Hospitals of Leicester (449) and University Hospitals Bristol & Weston (440).
– Hospital bed occupancy
Of 133 hospital trusts in England who had patients in general and acute beds last week, 22 trusts had at least 95% of beds occupied every day, according to PA news agency analysis.
An average of 93% of all adult general and acute beds were occupied across the week.
On December 19, the most recent date for which figures are available, 34 of the 133 trusts had bed occupancy levels of 95% or higher.
Some 38% of adults in Britain have experienced high levels of anxiety in the run-up to Christmas, the highest proportion since the country was in full lockdown in mid-January, a new ONS survey shows.
The average anxiety score, which has been climbing since the end of November, rose to 4.3 out of 10 – also the highest level since January.
The ONS survey is based on responses collected between December 15 and 19.
It also shows that happiness and life satisfaction scores have fallen slightly compared with the previous survey period of December 1-12, while the proportion of adults who are very or somewhat worried about the effect of Covid-19 on their lives rose to 67%, up from 56%.