Britain reported 189,213 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a new record.

This brings the total number of confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic to over 12.7 million.

Local media reported that the daily total is likely to have been inflated at least slightly by the delayed reporting of figures over the festive period.

There were also 332 deaths, bringing the total to 148,421.

Earlier in the day, NHS England announced that eight “surge hubs” with a capacity for 100 patients each will be set up around England in preparation for an expected wave of hospitalizations from the omicron coronavirus variant.

Stephen Powis, the NHS’ national medical director, said: “Given the high level of COVID-19 infections and increasing hospital admissions, the NHS is now on a war footing.”

“We do not yet know exactly how many of those who catch the virus will need hospital treatment, but given the number of infections, we cannot wait to find out before we act, and so work is beginning from today to ensure these facilities are in place.”

As of Dec. 29, 90% of Brits aged 12 and over had received their first dose of a COVID vaccine, 82.4% their second dose, and 58.3% their booster dose.

There were also continuing reports on Thursday that PCR and lateral flow test kits had temporarily run out in parts of the country.

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