The UK has recorded 53,945 new cases of coronavirus – the highest daily figure since mid-July following the European football championship.
The last time more cases were reported was on 17 July, when 54,674 new COVID-19 cases were recorded, six days after the tournament’s final at Wembley.
Public Health England previously said that England’s deep run in the competition – losing to Italy on penalties in the final – was linked to more than 9,000 new cases of COVID.
Thursday’s data also showed 141 more deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test – compared to 41 on 17 July.
This time last week, 147 deaths and 47,240 new cases were recorded.
In the latest figures, 7,644 COVID patients are in hospital in the UK, including 931 who are on ventilation beds.
Meanwhile, another 26,028 people have had their first COVID vaccine, taking the total to 51,020,285.
And 32,356 more have had a second dose, meaning the number who have now been double jabbed is 46,431,662.
Also, another 407,851 booster or third vaccine doses have been administered, meaning 19,015,975 – or 33.1% of the population aged over 12 – have received their extra shot.
It comes as health officials announcement that a new COVID treatment – Xevudy, or sotrovimab – has been approved for use in the UK.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said trials showed the drug reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 79%.
It was developed by London-based GlaxoSmithKline in conjunction with Vir Biotechnology in California – and the makers say preclinical data shows the drug “retains activity against key mutations of the new Omicron variant”.