About one in 50 people across England now has coronavirus, England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said Tuesday, calling the figure "really very high."
The Covid-19 case rate across the United Kingdom increased by 70% in the two weeks to Dec. 30, Whitty said.
Government data showed the rate rose from 287 cases per 100,000 people on Dec. 16 to 487 per 100,000 people on Dec. 30. The comparison is of the seven-day rolling average.
The number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 across the UK is as high as it has ever been, Whitty added.
The number of daily deaths is currently below the peak in April 2020, but Whitty said that pattern might not hold given the number of people sick with coronavirus at the moment.
“We will unfortunately see, inevitably, a spike in the number of people who die of this disease,” Whitty said.
On Monday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown in England to tackle this surge. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Monday that mainland Scotland would enter into a lockdown from midnight while the remaining UK nations -- Wales and Northern Ireland -- started lockdowns in December.