The British government on Friday reported 93,045 new coronavirus cases, a third consecutive record daily tally, as the Omicron variant fuels a surge in infections across the country.
The latest data brings the total number of infections during the pandemic to more than 11.1 million, while the UK also registered a further 111 deaths from the virus, taking the death toll to more than 147,000.
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Omicron is now the country’s dominant coronavirus strain, adding “the tsunami I warned about a week ago is now starting to hit us”.
And Welsh leader Mark Drakeford told citizens to brace for the “storm of Omicron” having announced the country’s nightclubs will close after Dec 26 and social distancing reintroduced in shops and workplaces.
Britain is currently rolling out a mass booster drive in order to vaccinate as many people as possible before the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the aim was on “trying to make sure that we not only have the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe” but also “to avert some of the more damaging consequences of Omicron”.
Johnson is under pressure to announce further restrictions, but minister Oliver Dowden said that the government has “the balance right”.