Friday's figures from the UK Department of Health show there have been 55,761 new cases and 1,280 deaths in the past 24 hours - the third-highest daily death toll on record since the pandemic began.

Iran PressEurope: Newly-reported coronavirus cases in the UK rose by a record high for the second time this week.

A total of 55,892 new infections were reported on Thursday, the highest yet, surpassing Tuesday’s 53,000.

The government has also recorded 964 more deaths. It takes the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test to 73,512.

It comes after successive rises of more than 50,000 newly-reported cases a day, though there could be some lag in numbers over the festive period.

Tuesday brought the previous highest number of new cases in one day, with more than 53,000 recorded, while Wednesday’s 981 deaths are the most reported over 24 hours since April.

The spike in cases in the most recent 24-hour period may be worrying for authorities as there had been promising signs that the third national lockdown was getting case numbers and the 'R rate' under control.