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UK records 218,724 daily Covid cases and 48 more deaths

The UK has reported another 218,724 more Covid-19 cases in the last 24-hours.

This is a a new daily record and the first time the figure has surpassed 200,000.

Official figures show a further 48 deaths within 28 days of a positive test have also been recorded.

There were 1,924 people admitted to hospital with coronavirus as of December 27, official figures show.

The UK-wide figures have been released after the Bank Holiday, when only England released figures for both deaths and cases.

It comes as a further 141,825 people had their booster jab – bringing the total to 34,363,986, government figures show.

This equates to 59.8 per cent of the UK population over the age of 12.

A further 19,158 people had a first dose, bringing the total to 51.8 million. Meanwhile, a further 29,295 people had a second dose – bringing the total to 47.4 million.

The government data has been released after multiple hospitals declared critical incidents, with nurses calling for more restrictions “without delay”.

Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital has become the latest hospital to declare a major incident after nearly 500 staff were absent due to Covid-19.

Jo Beer, chief operating officer of the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, said there was “high pressure” on urgent care and an increasing demand for Covid-19 beds.

An “internal critical incident” was also declared at the Great Western Hospital health trust in Swindon on Tuesday due to high levels of demand.

Kevin McNamara, chief executive of the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Following a tough few days we have this morning declared an internal critical incident due to sustained high levels of demand, Covid and non-Covid, and availability of beds.

On hospital trusts declaring critical incidents, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was being updated regularly but “this is a very fast-moving situation.”

He also insisted there was nothing in the data to suggest that England needed to move beyond the current Plan B restrictions.

The figures reported on Tuesday afternoon come as Boris Johnson prepares to lead a Downing Street press conference.

The NHS is facing significant pressure as it copes with the latest wave of Covid-19 despite hopes that cases should start to drop in the coming weeks.

No 10 has admitted that the health service is facing a “difficult time” during a “challenging winter”.