Another 479 people have died of coronavirus in hospitals across the UK.
Hospitals across the country are busier than ever as mutant strains of the Covid-19 have been reported.
383 patients died in hospitals in England while Northern Ireland recorded 26 deaths.
Meanwhile, Public Health Wales reported another 70 deaths, bringing the number in Wales to 3,564. The mirror reports.
Scotland recorded 2,137 new cases but did not report its latest death toll and will release new numbers on Monday.
A total of 196 deaths were reported in England and Wales on Boxing Day last Saturday as Scotland and Northern Ireland paused publication of the daily figures over the Christmas period.
Today’s death toll is the largest Saturday increase since May 2, when 469 people died.
In the past month, the death toll in the hospital has risen steadily. 432 people died on December 19, 393 on December 12 and 368 the week before.
Hospitals are under immense pressure in parts of the UK as the new mutant strain of Covid-19 spreads.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals is at record levels in many regions of England, including London, the South West and the Midlands.
In some areas, hospital admissions have risen above the level of the first wave.
Yesterday, the number of coronavirus deaths in English hospitals rose by 420 – one patient was only eight years old.
Today’s data brings the total confirmed hospital deaths in England to 51,147.
The latest numbers come as the UK’s largest education union tells teachers it’s unsafe to return to school on Monday.
Following an emergency meeting held today, the National Education Union said elementary schools should remain closed and move to distance learning for the first two weeks of January.
Last night saw a U-turn by the government that schools in all London boroughs, parts of Essex, Kent, East Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire were ordered to stay close.
Nearly three-quarters of the country are currently living under the toughest Tier 4 restrictions, and the government is under increasing pressure to close all schools.
Numbers released yesterday showed an additional 53,285 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9 a.m. on Friday, with an additional 613 deaths in all situations within 28 days of testing positive.
This was the fourth day in a row that the daily cases exceeded 50,000. A new record high of 55,892 cases was reported on New Year’s Eve – the highest since mass tests began in late May.
Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said current case numbers are “pretty mild” compared to expectations for a week and health workers are “really concerned” about the coming months as infection rates weigh on hospitals under increasing pressure.
He told the BBC: “All hospitals that haven’t had the pressure they had in the South East, including London and South Wales, should expect to succeed.”
“This new variant is definitely more contagious and is spreading across the country. It is very likely that we will see more and more cases wherever people work in the UK and we need to be prepared for that.”