UK Covid-19 Alert Level Has Been Downgraded From Level Five To Four – But The NHS Is Still Under Pressure
The decision was announced by the UK's four chief medical officers
The Covid-19 alert level has been lowered in all four nations despite warnings the health service was still under "significant pressure" from the virus.
The UK's four chief medical officers, Dr Chris Whitty, Dr Michael McBride, Dr Gregor Smith, Dr Frank Atherton, have agreed the alert level should be reduced after they concluded the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed within the next three weeks has "receded".
The alert level has now been lowered to level 4 meaning transmission of the virus is still "high or rising exponentially".
At the previous level, there was a "material risk" of NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days.
The decision was made following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre who made the decision based on declining numbers of infections and hospitalisations.
In a statement released by the four leading medics, they said deaths and hopsitalisatiosn were still "very high" as they encouraged all eligible people to get their vaccine when it is offered.
"The health services across the four 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," they said."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 of 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 throughout the pandemic."
The decision comes just days after Boris Johnson announced his roadmap for unlocking England's lockdown measures, saying he hoped the progress of the vaccination programme would prevent a resurgence in infections.