The government has said it believes the link between deaths and catching COVID has been weakened due to the vaccination campaign. (PA)
The number of people being admitted to hospital and dying from COVID has risen by more than 50% in the past week, as the total number of infections topped five million.
According to the latest figures released by the government, the number of people dying from COVID in the past seven days compared to the previous week is up 52.6% while the number of patients being admitted to hospital has also risen 51.5%.
The UK also recorded 32,551 new cases on Thursday bringing the total number of confirmed cases 5,022,893 – although the true number will likely be far higher.
There are also now 417 people in mechanical ventilation beds, the highest figure since 8 April.
The Government also said a further 35 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, bringing the UK total to 128,336.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
Cases across the UK have been rising sharply in recent days, with the health secretary saying earlier this week they could reach as high as 100,000 a day.
Despite this, the government has pressed ahead with its plan to bring to an end basically all COVID restrictions in England, currently scheduled for 19 July.
COVID-19 case rates in all regions of England are at their highest level since at least February, according to the latest surveillance report from Public Health England.
North-east England is recording the highest rate, with 613.4 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 4.
This is the highest rate for the region since comparable figures began in summer 2020, when mass testing was first introduced across the country.
All other regions are recording their highest rate since late January or early February this year, except for Yorkshire and the Humber where the rate is the highest since mid-November last year.
On Monday Boris Johnson is set to announce whether the planned lifting on restrictions on 19 July can go ahead.
Even though cases have been rising sharply there has been no indication so far the government is considering a delay.
The government has insisted the link between hospitalisations and deaths from catching COVID has been weakened enough by the success of the vaccination programme that the country can press ahead with life returning to normal.
The gap between the lifting of restrictions on 19 July and the plan to exempt double jabbed people and under 18s from self-isolation rules on 16 August has been criticised by businesses and Labour.
With this coming a month after most of the remaining restrictions are expected to be lifted, there are concerns that vast numbers of people could be forced into quarantine.