The UK recorded 45,961 Covid cases and 180 deaths on Tuesday, according to the latest daily figures.
It is lower than Monday’s total of 51,459 but well above last Tuesday’s tally of 39,716.
The rise in cases brings the total to 10,560,341 since the beginning of the pandemic, while 145,826 deaths have been reported.
Elsewhere, a further 329,165 third doses of the Covid vaccine were given out on Monday, bringing the total number of booster shots given out to 20,909,809.And 25,012 second doses were given out, meaning that 46,582,425 Britons are now fully vaccinated against the disease.
The figures come as a further 101 cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in the UK. Scientists fear the variant could be both more transmissible and partially resistant to vaccines.
But early signs are that the vaccines continue to give good protection against hospitalisation and death from the virus.
On Tuesday, Downing Street said that early data indicated the variant was “more transmissible” than Delta, currently the dominant strain in circulation in the UK.
Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said he thought Omicron would take over from Delta in the UK as the dominant variant of coronavirus “within a matter of weeks”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we can now say that this variant is spreading faster in the UK than the Delta variant at the same time, and that’s something that I think was unclear until very recently.“
The fact that so far we have seen not very many severe cases of Omicron, maybe because it is infecting these individuals with some amount of immunity and that’s good news that they aren’t having tonnes of severe disease, but I think it is too soon to assume that fundamentally Omicron is more mild than say Delta.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs on Monday that none of the Omicron variant cases identified to date had resulted in hospital admission.Internet Explorer Channel Network