England reported 625 deaths, Scotland 93, Wales 62 and Northern Ireland 9, bringing the UK hospital toll to 789.
The total number of hospital deaths now stands at 65,399.
This number is a huge jump from recent Saturdays as 479 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.
Friday – exactly two weeks after Christmas Day – the UK saw its highest toll ever in any setting since the start of the pandemic with a record high of 1,325.
This is 101 more deaths than the country’s highest daily death toll on April 21, of 1,224, at the height of the first lockdown.
The UK’s official toll within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 is 79,833 on Friday, but it will be updated later today.
The government science advisory group SAGE has found that the UK’s R rate has risen to between 1.0 and 1.4, after households shuffled over Christmas.
This means that every 10 people infected pass the virus on to 14 others.
The grim numbers come as England remain under their third domestic lockout.
But stricter enforcement rules could be adopted to target coronavirus law fliers, according to a report.
The government is reportedly considering a “crackdown” amid fears the NHS will soon be overwhelmed.
A source told The Telegraph that ministers are increasingly worried about non-compliance with lockdown rules as death and infection rates rise across the country.
Another source said officials at the newspaper are also considering reinstating the two-meter social distancing rule – due to the rapid spread of the new, highly virulent strain of Covid-19.
They said, “While we have gone to one meter plus as being ok, in fact with the new variant one meter becomes less OK and two meters is better. ”
A new government campaign released Friday carries a stern warning to the public that if they leave their homes “people will die”.
The new TV commercial, presented by Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England, urges people to stay home and ‘act like you have it’.
The latest “Stay Home, Save Lives” campaign comes as Boris Johnson has vowed 15 million people must be beaten by mid-February.
Critics have cast doubt on its target, as this week ended with around 1.5 million people vaccinated in total.
The Prime Minister called on the armed forces to support the effort, telling a press conference in Downing Street this week that they will help vaccinators carry out “hundreds of thousands” of shots a day.