There were an additional 16,135 cases of coronavirus recorded across the UK on Wednesday – the highest since 6 February and an almost 40 per cent increase in just 24 hours.
Some 11,642 were recorded on Tuesday, meaning the overnight increase was as much as 4,493.
The government also recorded 19 more deaths within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK’s death toll to 128,027.
It comes as more than 40 cases of the ‘Delta Plus’ variant have been detected in the UK, Downing Street revealed earlier today. Boris Johnson’s spokesman said Public Health England had put extra measures in place in parts of the UK where it has been detected, including “enhanced contact tracing, testing, and isolation”.
The new variant, also called AY.1, is related to the Delta variant first detected in India and could have increased transmissibility, but British scientists are yet to determine if the mutation should be considered concerning.