The four U.K. Chief Medical Officers have agreed that the Covid alert level should be lowered from level four to level three, suggesting that the “epidemic is in general circulation” and that there should be a “gradual relaxing of restrictions and social distancing measures”.
Sky News has the story.
A statement from the Medical Officers and NHS England’s National Medical Director said that people must remain “vigilant” of the virus, but added the decision to downgrade the alert level was “thanks to the efforts of the U.K. public”.
They said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the U.K. Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the U.K. alert level should move from level four to level three.
“Thanks to the efforts of the U.K. 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.”
The downgrade comes after a “consistent” fall in cases, hospital admissions and deaths.
Just two Covid deaths were reported on Sunday and since late March there have been fewer Covid deaths each day than the five-year average of deaths from influenza and pneumonia. While the lowering of the Covid alert level will likely push the Government to loosen “social” distancing restrictions, there are currently no plans for bringing rules on mask-wearing to an end.
The idea that not before May 10th have Government advisers been prepared to state that transmission is no longer “high or rising exponentially” shows what a parallel reality they inhabit. According to the ONS infection survey, transmission has not been rising exponentially in the UK for over four months, since December 26th. The last time it could sensibly be described as high is February.
Also disturbing to be reminded of the assumption of Zero Covid baked into the Government alert levels. To reach Def Con 1 COVID-19 must be “not known to be present in the UK”. This criterion, of complete eradication, is obviously unachievable. This means the best we can hope to hit is Def Con 2, where “number of cases and transmission is low”. Which amounts to a permanent state of emergency where there may still be “social distancing measures” and certainly will be “enhanced testing, tracing, monitoring and screening”. Forever, it appears.
The Sky News report is worth reading in full.