The UK has recorded 81,713 COVID cases and 287 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24-hour period.
This results in 99,652 positive cases and 270 deaths (of people within 28 days of the first positive test for COVID-19[female[feminine) reported yesterday.
It was down from 335 deaths recorded Thursday and 398 deaths recorded on Wednesday.
The UK Health Safety Agency estimates that England’s R number is now between 1.1 and 1.5 – which means that 10 people infected with the coronavirus will on average transmit the disease to 11 to 15 other people.
Since it stays above 1, it means the virus is continuing to grow rather than shrink.
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Meanwhile, the Weekly Coronavirus Infections Survey, which is collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows the percentage of people testing positive for the virus in the UK has continued to rise.
In the week ending January 6 – the latest figures available – the ONS estimated that 3,735,000 people had COVID-19, or around one in 15 people.
In Wales, the figure was 169,100 people – around one in 20 people; in Northern Ireland the figure was 99,200 – or one in 20; and in Scotland in the week ending January 7 it was 297,400 people – or one in 20 people.
The Omicron variant became dominant and continued to rise in all four countries, while the Delta variant “fell to very low levels”, the ONS added.
A wave of Omicron cases is possible over the summer as people resume social activities and the effect of vaccines diminishes, according to scientists advising the government.
Experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have said the precise timing and magnitude of the “exit wave” is “strongly dependent on population behavior and the magnitude of the current wave, and cannot be predicted with certainty”.
According to the modelling, the projection is between less than 1,000 admissions per day in the next wave to around 2,000 per day, if Plan B restrictions remain in place until the end of January and are followed by a gradual return to socialization.