UK records highest-ever daily number of COVID-19 deaths
The UK recorded 1,564 coronavirus-linked deaths on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.
The total number of deaths due to the novel coronavirus across the UK now stands at 84,767.
Government figures also showed that 47,525 new cases of COVID-19 had emerged in the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,211,576.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told members of parliament that he was "concerned" about a new variant of the virus discovered in Brazil, and that the UK was "taking steps" to keep it out of the country.
"I think it's fair to say that there are lots of questions we still have," Johnson said.
"We already have tough measures [...] to protect this country from new infections coming in from abroad," he said.
"We are taking steps to do that in respect of the Brazilian variant."
Earlier in the day, he promised that coronavirus vaccinations would take place 24/7 "as soon as we can."
British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca said it would be able to produce 2 million doses of its joint vaccine with Oxford University by the middle of February.