Another 194,747 coronavirus cases and 334 deaths have been reported in the latest daily UK figures.
The number of deaths – the highest reported since 2 March – includes a backlog of some data from NHS England stretching back to New Year’s Day.
It comes after more than 200,000 cases were reported in the UK for the first time yesterday.
That was also partly down to reporting delays due to the Monday bank holiday, when only England gave figures.
The large numbers of cases have caused severe staff shortages in the NHS and other industries.
According to the government’s dashboard, the latest count of people in hospital in the UK with COVID is now 17,276, with 911 requiring ventilation beds.
It is well below the near-40,000 of January 2021, but there are fears the numbers could grow substantially over the next few weeks as the record case numbers feed through to admissions.
In separate figures, the Office for National Statistics has said an estimated 3.7 million people in the UK had COVID-19 in the last week of the year.
In England, it was an estimated one in 15 people, and one in 10 in London.
The move is an effort to cut isolation times to ease staff shortages.