UK’s Covid alert level lowered to 3 ahead of announcement on easing of lockdown restrictions
The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has been lowered from 4 to 3 meaning transmission of the virus is no longer ‘high’ or ‘rising exponentially’.
It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to address the nation at 5pm today on the latest stage in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown on May 17.
In a joint statement, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 3.
“Thanks to the efforts of the UK public in social distancing and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination programme, case numbers, deaths and COVID hospital pressures have fallen consistently.
"However COVID is still circulating with people catching and spreading the virus every day so we all need to continue to be vigilant. This remains a major pandemic globally.
“It is very important that we all continue to follow the guidance closely and everyone gets both doses of the vaccine when they are offered it.”
Level 3 means the Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation, rather than in general circulation where transmission is high or rising exponentially, as defined in Level 4.
The development comes just hours before the Prime Minister is due to hold a Downing Street press conference in which he will make major announcements about the relaxation of lockdown measures in England.
Most social contact rules on meeting others outdoors are expected to be lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 people will remain illegal.
Indoor hospitality and entertainment are also to reopen, with the rule of six or two households allowed to meet indoors.
Speaking yesterday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove hinted that physical contact between friends and family – including hugs and overnights stays - will be allowed from next week for the first time in 14 months.
Other measures will include allowing 30 people to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals.