IMAGE: Staff treat patients at a COVID-19 ward at King’s College Hospital in south east London. Source: AAP
The number of daily COVID-19 cases has topped 100,000 as the UK Prime Minister resists calls to impose stricter rules in England over the Christmas period.
Britain has reported more than 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for the first time since widespread testing was introduced.
There were 106,122 cases reported on Wednesday compared with 90,629 on Tuesday.
The Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of the virus across the UK, already one of the hardest hit in Europe, with a death toll of nearly 148,000 as daily cases reach record levels.
The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has driven a surge in cases in the last seven days, with the total rising by 643,219, or 59 per cent, according to government data.
The British government said on Wednesday it was reducing the COVID-19 self-isolation period to seven days from 10 days for people in England who get a negative result on a lateral flow test two days in a row.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday ruled out new restrictions before Christmas, saying that there was uncertainty about the severity of Omicron and hospitalisation rates.
However, he did not rule out further measures after the holiday if the situation deteriorated.
There were 195 patients hospitalised with Omicron up to Tuesday and 18 deaths of people with the variant, according to separate data.
The total number of COVID-19 patients in hospital was 8008, slightly up in the last seven days but still far below the levels of more than 38,000 in January.
There were 140 deaths within 28 days of a positive case, down from 172 the previous day.