A surge in coronavirus cases in the UK is of “extreme concern”, a health boss says, as a record number of cases was reported for the second day running.

On Tuesday, 53,135 new Covid cases were recorded as well as 414 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Not all data was reported in full over the Christmas period, leading to a lag in some data, but Public Health England said there had been a “real increase”.

The health secretary said the NHS was facing “unprecedented pressures”. head of an announcement on any changes to England’s tier restrictions on Wednesday, Matt Hancock added in a tweet: “We must suppress this virus to protect our NHS & save lives until the vaccine can keep us safe.”

Hospitals in England and Wales are now treating more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave in April.

Dr Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE, said: “We are continuing to see unprecedented levels of Covid-19 infection across the UK, which is of extreme concern, particularly as our hospitals are at their most vulnerable.