Covid hope as UK scientists downgrade threat level because disease has ‘receded’

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Britain’s Covid-19 alert level should be moved down from the highest one, the UK’s four chief medical officers have agreed.

They have agreed the level should move from five, its highest, down to four in all four of the UK's nations as the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed within 21 days “has receded”.

In a joint statement with NHS England's national medical director Stephen Powis, they said the numbers of patients in hospital was "consistently declining”.

But they warned Brits that "we should be under no illusions" because deaths and coronavirus infections are still high.

It follows the announcement by Boris Johnson on Monday which outlined his four-stage roadmap to end lockdown.

The statement said: "Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK chief medical officers and NHS England national medical director agree that the UK alert level should move from level five to level four in all four nations.

"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 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.”

The scientists, which includes England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, said vaccines will have a “major impact” on the spread of the disease.

But Brits needed to “remain vigilant” in the meantime, they added.

The alert level was raised to level five on January 4, the day the Prime Minister announced the third national lockdown for England.

The statement continued: “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 throughout the pandemic."

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  • NHS
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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