COVID-19 alert level: update from the UK Chief Medical Officers
Written by Gavin on 25th February 2021
The UK’s COVID-19 alert level has been downgraded, with the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed receding.
The UK’s chief medical officers say the alert level should move from 5 to 4 as the numbers of patients in hospital are “consistently declining and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded”.
Level 4 means transmission of COVID-19 is now “high or rising exponentially” compared with level 5 where there was “a risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed”.
“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 5 to level 4 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. 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.”
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton
Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty
Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride
Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith
NHS England National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis