The UK recorded another 74,720 Covid-19 cases on Thursday in a possible sign that the recent surge in cases has peaked.
The figure is nearly a quarter lower than last Thursday’s figure of 98,204 and more than 12,000 fewer than the previous day.
A total of 535,248 Covid infections have been confirmed in the past seven days, which is 12.6% down on the previous seven-day period.
Meanwhile another 192 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test have been recorded, bringing the UK’s official pandemic death toll to 165,379.
A total of 2,330 inpatients had tested positive for the virus on Wednesday – but only about 26 per cent were in hospital “primarily” because of Covid, according to NHS England statistics published on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, one of the country’s leading medical advisers suggested that people in Britain should wear face masks because of the high number of Covid infections.