On Monday, 41,385 confirmed cases were recorded across the UK. It was the first time the daily number of cases reported in the country surpassed 40,000, although many more tests are being performed than earlier in the pandemic.
The country has so far seen two waves of coronavirus — April-May and October-November.
The second wave in November was deadlier than the first. The country saw over 20,000 confirmed cases every day during this time.
The new strain was first detected in September. In November, scientists discovered that the new strain was behind a cluster of cases in Kent and was rapidly spreading to London and Essex.
On December 11, the UK government was informed about the new strain of the virus and its increased transmissibility. The new strain is believed to be 70% more transmissible than the parent virus.
The UK health secretary Matt Hancock said the virus is “out of control” and imposed sweeping restrictions to contain the new wave.
Almost half of England’s population is under tight restrictions on movement and on everyday life in an attempt to curb the spread.
The daily cases, which were reduced to 15,000 per day in the first week of December, once again started to rise.
December, with two more days to go, is the worst affected month since the pandemic spread across the country earlier this year.
The last nine days of December have been the worst with over 290,000 cases.
Hospitals across the country are grappling with increased occupancy of Covid patients. Official figures show more people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in England than at the first peak of the outbreak in the spring.
There were 20,426 patients in hospitals as of Monday morning — the last day for which figures are available — compared to the previous high of 18,974 on April 12.