Coronavirus alert level in UK should be downgraded from 4 to 3 - chief medical officers

The COVID alert system being used by the government

The alert level for coronavirus across the UK should be downgraded from the current level 4 to level 3, the UK's chief medical officers have said.
They said the move has been recommended by the Joint Biosecurity Centre after a "steady decrease" in COVID-19 cases in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Level 4 means the virus is in general circulation and that transmission is high or rising exponentially, while level 3 means the epidemic is in general circulation.
A road sign in Bridport, Dorset
In a statement, the UK's chief medical officers said: "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."
The chief medical officers - England's Professor Chris Whitty, Northern Ireland's Dr Michael McBride, Scotland's Dr Gregor Smith and Wales' Dr Chris Jones - said they had "reviewed the evidence" and agreed the alert level should be lowered.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said moving to a lower alert level was "a big moment for the country, and a real testament to the British people's determination to beat this virus".
The "COVID alert level" system - unveiled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May - involves a scale of one to five, which he said would reflect the degree of threat to the country from coronavirus.
At the time, Mr Johnson said the level would be determined by the reproduction rate of COVID-19 (R) - which is the average number of people each infected person transmits the virus to - and the number of cases.

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