London, Dec 29 : Another 41,385 people in the UK have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, marking the highest increase in single-day cases since the onset of the pandemic in the country, according to official figures.
With the new cases, the country's overall infection tally now stands at 2,336,688, Xinhua news agency reported.
Another 357 infected patients have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of fatalities in the UK to 71,217, the data showed.
The new figures were revealed as the number of people being admitted to hospital is nearing the level of the first peak in April with medical experts warning that the problem could get worse through January and February.
The situation is "very tough" and the problem is particularly serious in London but "this could easily spread", Adrian Boyle from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine told Sky News on Monday.
"Ambulances keep coming in.
We are desperate to offload ambulances, that's always been a priority for us and you feel terrible and a sense of helplessness when you can't because your emergency department is full," Boyle added.
According to the London Ambulance Service, Boxing Day (December 26) was one of its "busiest ever days", with 7,918 calls, up by more than 2,500 compared with the same day in 2019.
Meanwhile, the UK government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has urged for all regions of England to be placed in the highest Tier Four restrictions, which require residents in the areas to stay at home, with limited exemptions.
People are also urged to work from home when they can, and should not enter or leave those areas.
London and many other parts of England have already been placed under Tier Four restrictions.
For those in Tiers One, Two and Three, up to three households were allowed to meet only on Christmas Day, while in Tier Four, people are not allowed to mix with anyone outside their own household, apart from support bubbles.