New coronavirus cases in the UK have soared to 6,178 in the past 24 hours - the third highest ever daily total, the latest official figures released today show.
Six months to the day since lockdown began in the UK, there have now been 409,729 confirmedcases of Covid-19 in the UK as of today.
Officials are grappling with how to handle a second wave of cases after months of lower infections and deaths over the summer.
There have been a further 37 deaths in the UK from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours - the exact same number as was reported yesterday - bringing the official death toll across all settings to 41,862.
The latest figures from the Department of Health today includes cases in hospitals, care homes and the community.
There are currently 1,469 people being treated for coronavirus in a clinical setting with 181 patients on ventilator beds.
Last Wednesday, September 16, the death toll increased by 20 while cases rose by 3,991.
Are you suffering with coronavirus? Email [email protected]
At the time this was the highest number since early May, when the pandemic was coming down from its peak.
The figures from late spring are likely to have been much higher in reality, but the UK lacked the testing capacity at the time.
According to Department for Health data the most cases on one day came on May 1, when 6,201 people tested positive.
The previous Wednesday - September 9 - eight new deaths were recorded, with 2,659 people testing positive.
So far this week, Monday saw cases soar by 4,368 - the highest Monday total since April 20 - while 11 new deaths were reported.
While yesterday the number of coronavirus cases in the UK surged by 4,926 in the highest Tuesday rise since mid-April and what was then the highest case number since May.
The number of deaths in all settings also rose by 37 on Tuesday taking the toll to 41,788. As the time, that figure represented the sharpest increase since July 14.
Across the four home nations, England is by far the worst affected for deaths caused by Covid-19, with, 33 of today's 37 deaths occurring there.
Wales and Scotland both reported 2 while Northern Ireland reported no new deaths in the past 24 hours.
England has now seen 37,172 deaths - according to the official statistics - while Scotland has suffered 2,508, Wales 1,605 and Northern Ireland 577.
A steady increase in infections prompted the government to ban gatherings of more than six people in England - with the new new 'rule of six' measure coming into force nine days ago.
Earlier today, the number of coronavirus deaths in hospital settings only rose by 27 in the highest Wednesday increase since July 8.
Hospitals in England recorded another 23 fatalities today. In Scotland, there were two deaths in hospitals, and there have also been two deaths in Wales.
In England the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals is now at 29,808.
Patients were aged between 69 and 96-years-old and they all had known underlying health conditions.
There have been a further 389 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 21,548.
Public Health Wales said two further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic increasing to 1,605.
There have been 220 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Northern Ireland in the last 24-hour reporting period, the Department of Health has said.
There have been no further deaths recorded by the department, with the toll in the region remaining at 577.
A total of 486 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland in the past 24 hours, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday - the highest number of cases recorded in a single day in Scotland.
Speaking at the Scottish Government's daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said two deaths of confirmed Covid-19 patients have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,508.
She said 25,495 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 25,009 the day before.
This is 7.8% of newly-tested individuals, up from 7.6% yesterday.
Of the new cases, 224 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 107 in Lanarkshire and 57 in Lothian.
There are 83 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 10 in 24 hours.
Of these patients, 10 were in intensive care, no change on yesterday.
Earlier First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a new Covid-19 “tipping point” has been reached requiring new restrictions in Scotland.
She told Good Morning Britain: “I’ve made a judgment that we are again at a tipping point with Covid.
“I’m looking at data that alarms me, frankly, and if we don’t act now, urgently and decisively, then we might find Covid running out of control again."