Britain should upgrade its Covid-19 alert level to the second highest, level four, meaning the virus is “in general circulation, transmission is high or rising exponentially,” the chief medical officers of all four nations recommended on Monday.
“The CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reviewed the evidence and recommend all four nations of the UK should move to Level 4,” they said in a statement from the department of Health.
“After a period of lower COVID cases and deaths, the number of cases are now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations. If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS and other health services over the autumn and winter everyone has to follow the social distancing guidance, wear face coverings correctly and wash their hands regularly. We know this will be a concerning news for many people; please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this.”
New restrictions are expected to be imposed with the move to a stage four alert. A stage five alert calls for a full lockdown. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a statement on the next steps on Tuesday.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the rise “reflects the significant shift in the current threat posed by coronavirus.”