Infections jumped 14 per cent on Thursday’s tally of 50,867 and are also well above last Friday’s figure of 50,584.
It is the highest daily cases tally since January 9 at the height of the third wave, when 59,937 cases were recorded.
The rise in cases brings the total number to 10,719,165, while fatalities reached 146,255.
In a more positive development, a further 469,479 Britons received a booster jab on Thursday - the highest daily tally in a month. It means that 22,184,983 people have now had their third jab.
Friday’s figures come as ministers mull tighter restrictions to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, which scientists have warned could become dominant in the UK. It is feared that the new strain is both more transmissible and partially resistant to vaccines.
Meanwhile, new rules on face coverings came into effect on Friday in a bid to curb the spread of the variant.
The legal requirement to wear masks has now been extended to more indoor spaces including museums, galleries and community centres.
There were a total of 817 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK as of Thursday, the UK Health Security Agency said.
Scotland’s first minister on Friday warned of a “tsunami of cases” triggered by the new variant as she tightened restrictions.
A paper circulated among Holyrood ministers said the rate at which cases of the new variant double is between two and three days, with Ms Sturgeon claiming the strain would soon “run riot” through the population.