The UK reported 41,385 new positive COVID-19 tests today, the highest recorded in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
The previous highest number was 39,237, reported on 23 December.
UK’s death toll also topped 71,000, with 357 new deaths recorded.
The record positive tests come as hospitals have been ordered to free up every possible bed for the growing number of COVID-19 patients.
Monday’s increase brings the total number of cases in the UK to 2,329,730.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England (PHE), said about the record figures:
“This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions.
“We have all made huge sacrifices this year but we must all continue to play our part in stopping the spread of the virus which is still replicating fast. The basics remain very important: wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance from others and abide by the restrictions in place.
“Despite unprecedented levels of infection, there is hope on the horizon. We can tackle this virus by working together as the vaccine continues to reach the most vulnerable first, and then many more over the weeks and months ahead.”