Britain has reported its largest daily toll of coronavirus deaths as a highly transmissible variant of the virus spreads through the country.
More than 1,000 deaths per day have been confirmed in Britain since the beginning of this month. The figure for Wednesday was a record high of 1,564. The total number of deaths has exceeded 84,000.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that about 32,000 patients were in hospitals, about 70 percent more than during the first peak in April.
Johnson warned there was a very substantial risk of intensive care capacity being "overtopped." He said the strain on medical staff was "colossal."
Johnson strongly urged the public to follow lockdown rules and avoid person-to-person contact.
He also said coronavirus vaccinations will be offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as soon as supply allows.
Some 2.6 million people in Britain have already been vaccinated. The government plans to inoculate about 15 million people who are especially vulnerable, such as those aged 70 and older and frontline healthcare workers, by February 15.