London, Dec 29 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom on Tuesday registered its highest daily number of newly confirmed coronavirus infections – 53,135 – and added another 414 Covid-19 deaths to its dire pandemic tally, the British government reported.
The number of new cases exceeds by almost 12,000 the previous single-day record, which had been set on Monday: 41,385.
The government attributed the alarming hike in the country’s caseload to a lag in data over the holiday period but, above all, to the appearance of a mutated, and thus new, strain of the virus, which is spreading extremely quickly in the London area, as well as in eastern and southern England.
National Health Service hospitals in England warned they were becoming overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, and according to government figures on Tuesday, a further 2,322 people were admitted to hospitals around the country with Covid-19.
So far, a total of 71,567 people have died in the UK from Covid-19, according to the British government, although that figure only includes people who died within 28 days of being diagnosed with the disease.
According to statistics compiled by other agencies, which take into account death certificates mentioning the disease, the number of Covid dead could exceed 87,000.
With the figures announced on Tuesday, the total number of confirmed cases in the UK since the pandemic hit now stands as 2,382,865.
British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock acknowledged on Twitter that the public health system is facing unprecedented pressure due to the coronavirus and he announced that the first woman vaccinated against Covid in the UK, Margaret Keenan, on Tuesday received the second injection in the two-shot series for the vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.
“Our NHS is facing unprecedented pressures due to coronavirus,” Hancock tweeted, adding “We must suppress this virus to protect our NHS and save lives until the vaccine can keep us safe.”
Hancock is scheduled to appear on Wednesday before the British Parliament, where he could announce that several parts of the country that to date have not been subjected to increased movement restrictions and other measures shortly may be required to go on maximum alert in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.