UK Reports A Record Number Of Covid Cases For Second Day In A Row

Some 88,376 infections is almost 10,000 more than Wednesday.
Boris Johnson walks past a poster advertising the NHS Covid Pass during a visit to a vaccination centre in Ramsgate, Kent.
Boris Johnson walks past a poster advertising the NHS Covid Pass during a visit to a vaccination centre in Ramsgate, Kent.
Leon Neal via PA Wire/PA Images

The UK has reported a record number of Covid cases for a second day in a row.

The government has said a further 88,376 lab-confirmed cases have been recorded in the UK as of 9am on Thursday, the highest daily total recorded since the pandemic began and almost 10,000 more than the previous record set on Wednesday.

The government said a further 146 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.

The figures come amid growing concern about the Omicron variant, with Boris Johnson being forced to deny he was imposing a “lockdown by stealth” amid allegations that medical advisers are “running the show” on Covid policy.

The prime minister urged people to be “cautious” about their activities during the festive period, but said the government does not “want to make your choices for you about your social life”.

He made the comments during a visit to the Saga vaccination centre in Ramsgate, Kent, as England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty faced questions from the Commons health and social care committee.

It came as the booster programme continued to pick up pace, with data from the UK’s four health agencies showing a record 745,183 booster and third doses of Covid-19 vaccine were reported across the country on Wednesday, surpassing Tuesday’s tally.

Whitty told the public at a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday to prioritise events that “really matter to them” over the festive period, in an effort to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

But Johnson stopped short of matching the warning, instead urging people to “think carefully” before attending celebrations.

Speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Conservative MP for Winchester Steve Brine said: “At a stroke the chief medical officer changed government policy and put this country, certainly hospitality… into effective lockdown.”

Whitty told the Commons committee on Thursday that he did not wish to dictate to people what they can and cannot do.

But he added: “This is about saying to people, look, this is a period to prioritise. And also to be clear, (this) was a message the prime minister also said last night.”

During his visit to Kent, Johnson denied he was imposing a lockdown by stealth.

Speaking to broadcasters, the prime minister said the situation was “very different” from last year.

“What we have is the additional protection of the vaccines, and the ability to test,” he said.

“So if you want to do something, if you want to go to an event or a party, then the sensible thing to do, if that’s a priority, the sensible thing to do is to get a test and to make sure that you’re being cautious.

“But we’re not saying that we want to cancel stuff, we’re not locking stuff down, and the fastest route back to normality is to get boosted.”


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