Another 179,756 COVID cases and 231 deaths have been reported in the UK, latest daily figures show.
Both figures are down on the 194,747 infections and 334 fatalities confirmed yesterday.
Nationwide, the number of cases in the last seven days (1,272,131) is up almost 30% on the previous week, while deaths (1,094) are up more than 56%.
The latest count of COVID patients in hospital is 17,988, which is up on the 17,276 last reported. Of those, 875 require ventilation beds, down from 911.
A further 247,478 third or booster vaccinations were administered yesterday, taking the total to 34,834,288 – or 60.6% of the population aged 12 and over.
New data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows the uptake of booster jabs is slowing in every age group.
Rates in the over-70s have almost levelled off at around 90%, while only a quarter of those under 30 have had the top-up jab.
The UKHSA’s latest surveillance report also reveals the epicentre of the current COVID outbreak has moved from London to the North West of England.
The whole of the North West is reporting high numbers of infections, including the Lake District and the area immediately south of there, containing Liverpool and Greater Manchester.
There are also lots of cases in parts of the North East and in northeast London.
And there has also been a steep rise in the number of over-85s being admitted to hospital.
Hospitalisations in that age group doubled from 62 in every 100,00 in the week leading up to Christmas to 121 in every 100,000 a week later.