United Kingdom raises COVID alert to highest level, PM to announce lockdown

Modesto Morganelli
Gennaio 5, 2021

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, has said that the Alert Level in Wales will be raised to 5. This led the Prime Minster to introduce a third national lockdown, which will become law at midnight on Jan 6.

In a statement, the UK's four chief medical officers and NHS England medical director said they were recommending the move from level 4 to 5 "following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data".

In a joint statement, the CMOs warned that "many parts" of the four nations' health systems are "already under enormous pressure".

The Covid-19 alert level refers to the threat of the epidemic and is separate from the seperate tiering systems in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"There are now very high rates of community transmission, with substantial numbers of COVID patients in hospitals and in intensive care", they continued.

They warned the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed within 21 days "in several areas" without further action.

He said: "COVID cases are rising rapidly across the United Kingdom in large part due to the new variant".

The level is determined by a number of factors, including the UK's R number and the number of confirmed Covid cases at any one time.

However, under Level 5, the virus is deemed to be spreading to such an extent that stricter social distancing measures are required. This situation is now only foreseen in the event of a successful vaccine being administered across the country.

"More positively there is a fifth alert level referenced in the Welsh Government restrictions document from December which will hopefully be used sooner rather than later: "...a future without restrictions to our daily lives - what we could call alert level zero".

Likely response: Shops and restaurants could be allowed to open with social distancing measures. Clinically vulnerable people are likely to be advised to remain indoors.

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