The UK’s coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from four to three on Friday, a move hailed by the government as a big moment in its pandemic fight.
Under level three of a five-level alert system, the virus is now considered to be “in general circulation” and therefore allow for a “gradual relaxation of restrictions” to ease the lockdown further. Previously, at level four, the transmission of the deadly virus was considered “high or rising exponentially”.
The UK moving to a lower alert level is a big moment for the country, and a real testament to the British people’s determination to beat this virus, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The government’s plan is working. Infection rates are rapidly falling, we have protected the NHS and, thanks to the hard work of millions in our health and social care services, we are getting the country back on her feet, he said.
The go-ahead for the downgrade came from the expert Joint Biosecurity Centre, which recommended a reduction that was then jointly approved by the chief medical officers (CMOs) of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
There has been a steady decrease in cases we have seen in all four nations, and this continues. It does not mean that the pandemic is over. The virus is still in general circulation, and localized outbreaks are likely to occur, the CMOs said in a joint statement.
We have made progress against the virus thanks to the efforts of the public and we need the public to continue to follow the guidelines carefully to ensure this progress continues, they said.
The UK’s death toll from the virus crossed 42,000 this week but experts have been highlighting the falling daily rate of deaths as well as a decline in the rate of infections for a few days.