Covid news – live: Record 129,471 new cases in 24 hours as hospital admissions rise in every part of England

New Covid restrictions come into force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

A further 129,471 Covid-19 cases were recorded on Tuesday, setting another new single-day record amid the spread of the new Omicron variant.

It brings the seven-day infection total to 802,137, representing an increase of 30.3 per cent on the previous week.

The government also said a further 18 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. It warned that the data was incomplete due to holidays, and does not include figures for Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile The NHS in England recorded a 44 per cent weekly increase in hospital admissions on Christmas day, with admissions in the capital up by 68 per cent while admissions increased in every region, new data shows.

Admissions, on a seven day basis, were up in every region across England by Christmas day with the North West up by 60 per cent within a week, according to the latest figures available.

Hospitals in East of England and Midlands saw a 48 and 47 per cent increase respectively, while the South West saw an increase in total admission of just 2 per cent.


The United States has changed Covid isolation rules to allow patients who are asymptomatic out of isolation after five days, while wearing masks for a further five days.

In making the change, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the equivalent of the UK Health Security Agency — appears to be the treading the line between addressing “acute labour shortages” by releasing patients earlier with the risk they could still be infecting others.

Our health correspondent Rebecca Thomas talks to experts on whether the five-day rule is safe, and how it compares to the seven-day minimum in the UK.

Alastair Jamieson29 December 2021 01:45

Test and Trace system ‘giving wrong isolation advice’

Some users of the NHS Test and Trace system are reportedly still being told to self-isolate for 10 days even though ministers last week said this can be cut to a week or less for most people, providing they self-test.

Most Covid patients who can show negative lateral flow tests on two consecutive days and leave isolation after seven days following the recent change.

Alastair Jamieson28 December 2021 22:44

Ministers closely monitor Covid data as cases continue to rise

Ministers have said they are closely monitoring the latest Covid data as cases of the virus continued to surge across much of the country.

Government figures showed there were a record 129,471 lab-confirmed cases in the UK as of 9am Tuesday – although the data was incomplete due to the Christmas holidays with no figures for Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Gavin Cordon reports:

Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 20:50

South Africa u-turns on new isolation rules

The South African government have u-turned on the rule that no longer required people without symptoms of Covid-19 to isolate or test if they have been in contact with a positive case.

The health ministry last week said that asymptomatic individuals who had been in contact with a case of coronavirus no longer had to isolate but should monitor for symptoms for 5-7 days and avoid attending large gatherings, Reuters have reported.

The reason for the revision was based on a number of scientific factors including the fact that, most people have vaccinated with at least one vaccine dose and developed some level of immunity. This has contributed to the current low hospitalisation and high recovery rates, the department said.

“In line with the principles of transparency and openness, the department has decided to put the implementation of the revised policy changes on hold, while taking all additional comments and inputs received into consideration,” it said in a statement.

“This means the status quo remains, and all prior existing regulations with regards to contact tracing, quarantine and isolation remain applicable.”

Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 20:28

‘We need people to isolate for as little time as possible,’ CBI president says

Lord Bilimoria welcomed the decision by Health Secretary Sajid Javid to reduce the isolation time in England from 10 days to seven if people test negative on days six and seven.

He pointed out that in South Africa where the Omicron variant was first identified, the requirement to self-isolate has been dropped altogether when people are asymptomatic.

“We have got to do everything we can to stop the disruption to our lives and to our livelihoods and to the economy in as safe a way as possible,” he told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

“We need people to isolate for as little time as possible.”

Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 20:10

Welsh urged to follow restrictions amid ‘rapid rise’ in Covid cases

Welsh people are being urged to get their booster jabs and follow social distancing measures amid a “rapid rise” in coronavirus cases.

It comes after First Minister Mark Drakeford closed nightclubs and announced a return to the rule of six inside pubs and restaurants from Boxing Day.

Wales recorded 12,378 new cases on Tuesday. However, there is a lag in the number of cases being recorded due to the holiday period.

Luke O’Reilly has the details here:

Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 19:45

Sturgeon urges public to not ‘underestimate impact of Omicron’

The First Minister of Scotland has renewed her call for people to stick to the latest Covid restrictions as case numbers continue to reach record levels.

A total of 9,360 new positive cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, according to the latest Scottish Government data released on Tuesday.

The day before, 10,562 cases were recorded, with 11,030 cases on December 26.

These daily figures are the highest Scotland has seen since the first coronavirus case was recorded in the country in March 2020.

Nicola Sturgeon said she expects case numbers will rise further in the days to come and urged the public to not “underestimate the impact of Omicron.”

“These figures serve to underline the importance of people continuing to get ‘boosted by the bells’ and following the guidance to help slow the spread of Covid while we complete the accelerated booster programme,” she said.

“I know it is hard, but it is really important people continue to comply with the guidance over the new year period.

“Even if the rate of hospitalisation associated with it is lower than past strains of the virus, case numbers this high will still put an inevitable further strain on the NHS, and create significant levels of disruption due to sickness absence across the economy and critical services.”

Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 19:28

Mass Covid deaths and full intensive care units are likely ‘now history’ in UK, scientist claims

Covid-19 cases have soared by their highest number since the start of the pandemic as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the UK.

The latest figures released by the government on Tuesday afternoon show 129,471 new cases in the 24 hours to 9am on that day, a new daily record.

The government also said a further 18 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. It warned that the data was incomplete due to holidays, and does not include figures for Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Andy Gregory reports:

Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 19:12

Watch: New Covid restrictions come into force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

New Covid restrictions come into force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 19:00

Voices: I realised last Christmas that the pandemic has changed what it means to be an immigrant

We are three generations of women living in three different countries and separated by two stretches of sea, and I had not given it a lot of thought until 2020, writes Marie Le Conte.

Emily Atkinson28 December 2021 18:40

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.