The UK has reported another 88,376 coronavirus cases and 146 more deaths, according to official daily figures.
It compares with 78,610 new infections yesterday – the highest since the start of the pandemic – fuelled by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
The UK Health Security Agency said there were 1,691 additional confirmed cases of Omicron reported across the UK yesterday bringing the total to 11,708.
A record number of daily booster jabs have also been administered for a second day in a row, the NHS said.
Another 626,846 were carried out on Wednesday, while a record 821,075 third-dose appointments were made.
The government is in the middle of an unprecedented national vaccination effort to offer boosters in a bid to increase protection against Omicron.
Every person infected with the variant is believed to be passing it on to between three and five others on average, a senior government scientist has said.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Health Security Agency’s chief medical adviser, told MPs on the health committee that for Omicron, the R value in the UK is between 3 and 5.
England’s chief medical officer has advised people to prioritise events that matter to them in the run-up to Christmas.
Professor Chris Whitty said the record for daily hospital admissions for COVID could be broken in the coming weeks, and urged people not to “mix with people you don’t have to”.