A further 12,872 cases and 49 deaths were reported on Saturday night and official figures also revealed a rise in the number of patients in hospital and on ventilators.
However the government claimed a backlog of test results dating back more than a week would lead to higher figures “over the coming days”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of “serial incompetence" and urged the prime minister to draw up a new “roadmap” for recovery.
Officials are increasingly hopeful that a Covid vaccine could be rolled out as early as Easter. Scientists working on an inoculation at Oxford University are hoping it will be ready and approved by the end of this year, while government officials believe they will be able to get the vaccine to all 53 million British adults in less than six months and potentially as quick as three.
Meanwhile in the US, Donald Trump said he was “feeling much better now” after being taken to hospital for treatment for Covid-19.