Covid: UK records 129,471 cases and 18 deaths in latest daily figures

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The UK reported 129,471 cases and 18 deaths on Tuesday, according to the latest daily figures.

It marks a significant rise on Monday’s infection tally but does not include key data from Northern Ireland and Scotland from the festive holiday period.

The rise in cases brings the total to 12,338,676, while a total of 148,021 fatalities have been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.

England reported 117,093 on Tuesday while Wales recorded 12,378.

Meanwhile, the latest NHS figures showed there were 1,374 Covid hospital admissions in England on December 26.

This is up 48 per cent week-on-week and is the highest number since February 11.

During the second wave of Covid, admissions peaked at 4,134 on January 12.

In London, 374 admissions were reported on December 26, up 53 per cent week-on-week but slightly below the 390 admissions reported on December 23.

Boris Johnson has resisted imposing fresh curbs to control the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, but insisted ministers will keep the data under constant review.

Environment secretary George Eustice on Tuesday refused to rule out imposing restrictions in January if a surge in hospitalisations puts unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

“At the moment we don’t think that the evidence supports any more interventions beyond what we have done,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But obviously we have got to keep it under very close review, because if it is the case that we started to see a big increase in hospitalisations then we would need to act further.”

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said people with Covid should be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as they would with a common cold.

Asked on BBC Breakfast about NHS staff shortages due to workers having to isolate, he said: “This is a disease that’s not going away, the infection is not going away, although we’re not going to see as severe disease for much longer.

“Ultimately, we’re going to have to let people who are positive with Covid go about their normal lives as they would do with any other cold. And so, at some point, we’ve got to relax this.”

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