UK’s Covid-19 alert level set to be reduced to level 3 with epidemic in ‘general circulation’

The four UK chief medical officers have agreed the Covid-19 alert level should move from level 4 to level 3, meaning the “epidemic is in general circulation”.

By Dan Windham
Monday, 10th May 2021, 12:13 pm

The news comes ahead of Boris Johnson’s press conference in Downing Street later on Monday to announce the next steps in England’s road map out of lockdown.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce that people in England will be able to take a step closer to normality from next week as more indoor mixing and hugging loved ones will be permitted once more.

But ahead of the announcement, mental health minister Nadine Dorries urged people to act “cautiously” and one health expert advised people to maintain social distance and keep using face masks.

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A woman wearing a face mask passes a coronavirus advice sign in Sheffield - PA

It is expected that Mr Johnson will confirm that England can press ahead with the next phase out of lockdown from May 17 which allows more freedoms both in and outdoors.

Professor Sir John Bell said the nation was in a “very strong position” to move forward with the easing of restrictions which will enable people to “try and get back to normal”.

Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine told Good Morning Britain that data from vaccination programmes from the UK, Israel and the US shows a “rather rapid fall-off” in cases of disease, hospital admissions and deaths after rising numbers of people were given their first dose of vaccine.

“It’s a really very striking fall in all those things.

“I do think that we’re in a very strong position to go forward now with fewer restrictions and try and get back to normal.”

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick, said that figures for hospital admissions and new infections are similar to low levels seen last August.

But the member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) urged people to “act responsibly” as restrictions were lifted.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I think it’s actually very important for our mental health and wellbeing that we can hug our loved ones, but to me the key message is, if and when this comes in, we need to remember that the pandemic hasn’t gone away.

“We are still a few steps away from normality, so it’s really great that we can hug our loved ones, but what we need to remember is we need to be a little bit careful.”

He said that the easing of restrictions could see the R number rise above 1, but added: “The key thing for me is what we want to avoid is hospital admissions going up and people dying going up.

“And if we can keep those out of the low levels they are then hopefully this resumption of hugging can be done safely and we can proceed again to the June 21 relaxation.”

Ms Dorries repeated the call for caution but said that the road map was “on course”.

She told Sky News: “I think it’s what most people have missed, that intimate contact with family and friends, and entertaining, having people in your own house, meeting outdoors."