The UK’s COVID Alert Level is to be downgraded from Level 5 to Level 4 in all 4 UK nations.
The UK’s 4 Chief Medical Officers and NHS England’s National Medical Director agreed on the move following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and a review of recent Coronavirus data.
The alert level is set independently and not by government ministers.
Level 4 means that COVID-19 is in general circulation and that transmission is high or rising exponentially. The UK had been in Level 5 of the system, meaning that there was a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed.
In a joint statement, the Chief Medical Officers for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and NHS England’s National Medical Director said;
“Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all 4 nations.
“The health services across the 4 nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital. However, thanks to the efforts of the public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.
“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However, for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.
“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers. We thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism.”
Coronavirus case rates have continued to fall in recent weeks and the UK-wide case rate was just 116.4 cases per 100,000 people last Friday – the lowest rate since the start of last October.