The UK’s coronavirus hospital death toll has increased by 926 in the highest daily rise since April.
England reported a further 771 deaths, Scotland recorded 78, Wales reported 55 and Northern Ireland had 22.
The full tally across all settings – including care homes and the wider community – will be released later today.
The deaths in England’s hospitals included two people aged between 20 to 39.
The hospitals with the highest numbers of deaths were in Kent and London.
Barts Health HHS Trust in London recorded 31 deaths, and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust hospitals recorded 32.
England’s south east regions have been hardest hit by new mutant strains of the virus, which began spreading rapidly in the lead-up to Christmas.
Last Saturday the UK’s overall hospital death toll increased by 789 – the highest number ever recorded on a Saturday since May.
Today’s death toll is the highest hospital figure since Wednesday, April 8, when 936 deaths were announced.
Daily deaths have been surging upwards rapily in the pandemic’s second wave.
Comparing today’s figure to recent Saturdays, a total 479 deaths were recorded on January 2, 196 on December 26, 432 on December 19, 393 on December 12 and on December 5 there were 368 deaths.
Scotland recorded 1,753 new cases of Covid-19 in the 24 hours to Saturday.
Wales recorded 1,129 new positive tests.
England and Northern Ireland will release more data later today.