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UK records 50,584 Covid infections and 143 deaths amid Omicron spread

The UK faced a further 50,584 new Covid cases and 143 deaths on Friday.

The latest figures come amid the Omicron variant spreading across the country as new cases are being identified in different places.

In London, 15 residents are diagnosed with the Omicron variant and Richmond upon Thames was named as having the capital’s highest Covid infection rate, according to NHS figures.

Covid cases were above 50,000 for the second day in a row on Friday following on from Thursday when 53,845 new infections.

Thursday’s case figure was the highest daily figure of infections since mid-July.

As 143 deaths were recorded on Friday, separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have now been 170,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Despite concerns for the Omicron variant, Boris Johnson was confident in a press conference earlier this week this Christmas would be better than last year when strict Covid restrictions were in place.

The vaccine rollout continues to be strong with a total of 51,046,133 first doses of Covid-19 vaccine delivered in the UK by December 2, Government figures show.

This is a rise of 25,848 on the previous day.

Some 46,462,638 second doses have been delivered, an increase of 30,976.

A combined total of 19,436,885 booster and third doses have also been given, a day-on-day rise of 420,910.

Separate totals for booster and third doses are not available.

The delivery of booster jabs will be accelerated from December 13, NHS England confirmed on Friday.

In a letter sent to health leaders, NHS England said the booking service for booster jabs would be updated to reflect the reduction of the time between doses to three months.

This would happen “as soon as possible and no later than December 13”.