News 19 June 2020

UK’s COVID-19 Alert Level Reduced From 4 To 3

19 June 2020

The Department of Health have confirmed that the UK’s coronavirus alert level has now been reduced from 4 to 3.

After recommending a reduction in the alert level, the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said in a statement: “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 localised outbreaks are likely to occur.

“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.”

While level 4 of the government’s alert levels means “transmission is high or rising exponentially”, level 3 defines the virus as being in “general circulation”. The 5 coronavirus levels – which are determined by Covid-19’s reproduction (R) number and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases at any one time – are as follows: 

Level 1: 
Covid-19 is not known to be present in the UK

Level 2: Covid-19 is present in the UK, but the number of cases and transmission is low

Level 3: A Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation

Level 4: A Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially

Level 5: As level 4 and there is a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed

The government’s health secretary Matt Hancock has reacted to the lowering of the alert level, describing it as a “big moment for the country”.

“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,” Matt Hancock said.

“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.”

It is likely that the reduction of the alert level will lead to a further easing of social distancing measures in the near future.

Hancock recently revealed people from BAME groups could be among the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine, saying at yesterday’s daily briefing: “As we learn more about the virus we will continue to take into account which groups may be particularly vulnerable – including, for example, those from ethnic minority backgrounds – so that we can protect the most at risk first, should a vaccine become available, and get this country back on our feet as soon as we possibly can.”