THE number of people in hospital in England with Covid-19 has hit its highest level since early March.

A total of 9546 people were in hospital in England with Covid-19 as of 8am on December 28, according to new figures from NHS England.

This is up 38% from a week earlier and is the highest number since March 3.

During the second wave of coronavirus, the number peaked at 34,336 on January 18.

In London, 3024 people were in hospital with Covid-19 on December 28, up 59% week-on-week and the highest number since February 19.

The second-wave peak for London was 7917 on January 18.

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The number of daily hospital admissions in England also hit its highest level since February 11 with 1374 people admitted with Covid-19 on December 26, up 48% week-on-week.

During the second wave of coronavirus, admissions peaked at 4,134 on January 12.

The National:

In London, 374 admissions were reported on December 26, up 53% week-on-week but slightly below the 390 admissions reported on December 23.

Admissions during the second wave peaked in London at 977 on January 6.

The number of coronavirus admissions includes people admitted to hospital in the previous 24 hours who were known to have Covid-19, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with the virus in the previous 24 hours.

During the previous highest day for Covid patients in hospital on March 3, 2021, the UK was still in a strict lockdown with the likes of nightclubs and bars closed and large events banned across the four nations of the UK.

The UK Government announced on Monday that there would be no new public health measures introduced for England to stop the spread of the coronavirus in light of the Omicron variant.

It means that currently, people in England will have no restrictions going into New Year celebrations with nightclubs and pubs allowed to remain open.

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In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, restrictions have been introduced including limits on household mixing and closing nightclubs along with other measures to limit the potential spread of the virus in hospitality and leisure settings.

Advice for England from UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid is to "remain cautious" and to test before engaging in any social gatherings.

Earlier today, Tory minister George Eustice (below) said the UK Government is keeping the level of Covid hospital admissions under “very close review”.

The National:

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The Environment Secretary acknowledged that infection rates from the new Omicron variant were rising but said there was evidence it was not resulting in the same level of hospital admissions as previous waves.

“There is early encouragement from what we know in South Africa that you have fewer hospitalisations and that the number of days that they stay in hospital if they do go into hospital is also lower than in previous variants,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“At the moment we don’t think that the evidence supports any more interventions beyond what we have done.

“But obviously we have got to keep it under very close review, because if it is the case that we started to see a big increase in hospitalisations then we would need to act further.”