Covid cases across the UK have increased by 99,652 in the last 24 hours – marking a huge 44% decrease over past seven days.
A further 270 deaths have also been recorded in the last 24 hours – up on last week.
Last Friday Covid cases rose by 178,250 with a further 229 deaths.
As case numbers have continued to decline after a festive peak, death rates seem set on rising as the data paints a mixed picture during the Omicron wave.
With big companies increasingly cutting sick pay for the unvaccinated and hospital trusts up and down the country declaring critical incidents, a number of rules Brits have grown accustomed to could begin to change.
This could include isolation periods, passes to large events and Covid testing as well.
Behind the scenes photos show life on a Covid ward at Royal Preston Hospital
Lancashire Post / SWNS)
It comes as Downing Street was yet again exposed for partying during Covid restrictions – with one event just hours before the Queen sat alone at her husband’s funeral .
The ensuing fallout and public anger towards Boris Johnson could harm future compliance with any restrictions needed to protect England against Covid.
Currently, vaccinated people who come into contact with a Covid case in England should take daily lateral flow tests for seven days instead of isolation.
The government has now indicated this requirement could be reduced after announcing the isolation period has been cut to five full days (see bottom of this article).
The 10 day isolation period could be cut
A government statement said: “In line with today’s announcement, the government will also consider the guidance for close contacts of people with COVID-19, including around the advice for fully vaccinated contacts to take daily LFDs for 7 days.”
It did not give a date when any changes could come into force.
Sajid Javid hinted on Thursday that Covid passports for nightclubs and large venues – which mean showing you’ve had a vaccine or recent negative test – could soon be ditched in England.
Tory MP Alicia Kearns asked him to “drop domestic certification at the earliest possible opportunity.”
The Health Secretary replied: “On the issue that she also raised around the domestic certification, I have to say I do share my honourable friend’s instinctive discomfort.
“I want to assure her, I will assure the House, that as far as I’m concerned, we wont be keeping domestic certification in place for a moment longer than absolutely necessary.”
The Plan B rules in England, which include Covid passes, are currently due to expire on January 26. This, arguably, is the "earliest possible opportunity".
But Government sources said Mr Javid’s words should not be interpreted as meaning Covid passes will end on that date.