Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust was caring for more coronavirus patients on Tuesday (January 12) than at the peak in April during the first wave, figures reveal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned there was a “very substantial” risk of intensive care units being overwhelmed by the current wave of Covid-19 cases, as the number of patients in hospital with the virus reached a record high nationally.

NHS England data shows 216 people were being treated for Covid-19 at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by 8am on January 12.

That was a rise of 45 per cent compared to the peak of 149 reported during April last year.

Across England, 32,200 patients were in hospital with the virus on Tuesday morning – a record number, and 70 per cent more than the first-wave peak of 19,000.

Of those, 3,200 were on mechanical ventilation beds.

Mr Johnson told MPs: "If you ask me when do we think that the ICU capacity is likely to be overtopped, I can’t give you a prediction for that.

"But all I can say is that the risk is very substantial, and we have to keep the pressure off the NHS and the only way to do that is to follow the current lockdown."

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director for Public Health England, said the rate at which people are being admitted to hospital is now higher than at any point during the pandemic.

"We are still seeing thousands of people having to go to hospital each day," she said.

"Worryingly, these numbers are likely to get worse before we see the benefits of our efforts to protect the NHS, which will mean more pressure for our health service than ever before."

Separate monthly figures from the NHS give an insight into the ages of patients admitted at Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust.

In the seven days to January 6, 20 of the 41 Covid admissions were of people aged between 18 and 64.

The Health Foundation think thank cautioned that the rising number of coronavirus patients in hospital was putting strain on other services, which are now facing significant backlogs.

Tim Gardner, senior policy fellow, said: "The pressure on hospitals is far greater than during a typical winter due to the surge in people admitted with Covid-19 and the extra measures needed to protect patients and staff from exposure.

"The immediate priority is getting through the weeks ahead, but the Government must not underestimate the challenges that the NHS will continue to face even once the current crisis has passed."