In the UK, 5,274 new coronavirus cases has been reported in the latest 24-hour period, the highest number of daily infections since late March, according to the government’s data.
A further 18 people also died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Thursday, bringing the country’s total to 127,812.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have now been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
The new numbers take the total number of infections recorded since the start of the pandemic to 4,499,973 and total number of deaths to 127,812.
It comes as Public Health England (PHE) revealed the number of cases of the Indian variant, now referred to as Delta by the World Health Organisation, have almost doubled in the past week- rising by 5,472 to 12,431.
The body also revealed that Bolton remains the area worst affected by the variant, where cases have risen by 795 from last week to a total of 2,149.
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Blackburn with Darwen is the second worst affected area where cases of the variant have jumped by 368 week-on-week to a total of 724.
But PHE said there were “encouraging signs” the transmission rate in Bolton was beginning to fall following actions taken by the local authority and residents, including teams of health workers going door-to-door to encourage people to get vaccinated at drop-in centres
It also warned that there was early evidence suggesting there may be an increased risk of hospital admission from the variant that originated in India.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “With this variant now dominant across the UK, it remains vital that we continue to exercise caution particularly while we learn more about transmission and health impacts.
“The way to tackle variants is to use the same measures to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 we have used before. Work from home where you can, and practise hands, face, space, fresh air at all times.”