The number of new cases of Covid-19 reported each day in the UK has climbed above 50,000 for the first time in six months.
A total of 51,870 cases were reported by the Government on July 16.
This is the highest number since January 15, when 55,761 cases were reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month warned that the number of new cases could reach 50,000 a day by July 19 – the date on which coronavirus restrictions are to be eased in England.
The latest total is still some way below the peak of the second wave of the virus, which saw a high of 68,053 cases reported on January 8.
But the numbers are on a clear upward trend, with average daily cases up 35% week-on-week.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the number could top 100,000 over the summer.
The impact of the third wave of coronavirus cases, which began in the UK at the end of May, is also reflected in the latest case rates for local areas.
Of the 380 local authority areas in the UK, 370 (97%) are now recording Covid-19 rates greater than 100 cases per 100,000 people.
This is the highest proportion of areas above this level since late January.
North-east England continues to be the main hotspot of the third wave, accounting for nine of the top 10 highest local rates in the UK.
Four of these areas are currently recording rates above 1,000 cases per 100,000: South Tyneside (1,310.1); Redcar & Cleveland (1,017.9); Hartlepool (1,015.3) and Middlesbrough (1,014.3).
All of the UK’s top 20 highest local rates are in England.
Midlothian is recording the highest rate in Scotland (639.2), Derry City & Strabane in Northern Ireland (392.0) and Wrexham in Wales (310.4).
Case rates are for the seven days to July 12.