United Kingdom

COVID-19: UK alert level should be lowered from 4 to 3, chief medical officers say

The UK’s COVID-19 alert level should be lowered from four to three, chief medical officers have said.

A statement from the medical officers and NHS England National Medical Director said that people must remain “vigilant” of the virus, but said the decision to downgrade the alert level was “thanks to the efforts of the UK public”.

They said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 3.

“Thanks to the efforts of the UK public in social distancing and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination programme, case numbers, deaths and COVID hospital pressures have fallen consistently.

“However COVID is still circulating with people catching and spreading the virus every day so we all need to continue to be vigilant. This remains a major pandemic globally.

“It is very important that we all continue to follow the guidance closely and everyone gets both doses of the vaccine when they are offered it.”

Here is what each alert level means:

Level 5 – The highest on the scale, this indicates there is a “material risk” of the NHS being overwhelmed.

Reaching this level would involve tighter social distancing measures.

Level 4 – This means the COVID-19 epidemic “is in general circulation” and that “transmission is high or rising exponentially”.

Level 3 – While this level also suggests the epidemic is “in general circulation”, it omits the statement “transmission is high or rising exponentially”.

It would mean a gradual reduction in social distancing measures and restrictions.

Level 2 – To shift to this level, the government guidance says the virus would be present in the UK, but that the number of cases and transmission is low.

It says this would then allow “no or minimal social distancing measures”, but with enhanced “testing, tracing, monitoring and screening”.

This level has not been reached since the system was introduced.

Level 1 – The level which the government eventually hopes to reach, this would indicate “COVID-19 is not known to be present in the UK”.

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