UK COVID-19 alert level moved from Level 5 to Level 4 but health services remain under significant pressure
The general UK alert level has been downgraded this afternoon, whereas the other Alert Level in Wales remains unchanged at the highest 4 level.
The four UK chief medical officers agreed the change following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC).
The change in “Alert Level” is different from the “Alert Level” that Wales is in since the publication of the traffic light system in December.
The JBC provides “evidence-based, objective analysis, assessment and advice” to help inform local and national decision-making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement issued this afternoon Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said,
“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.”
The statement was also cosigned by 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 and NHS England National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis.
Back in December our sister site Wrexha.com pointed out to the First Minister that Technical Advisory Group documents state the importance of the simplicity of messaging, and asked why there is a reluctance to call the restriction based ‘alert levels’ ‘tiers’ as used elsewhere, and if they are not the same thing, what the difference is.
Mr Drakeford said back then: “I don’t know if that is a particularly significant point, we called it a traffic light system earlier in the year, it is still a traffic light system but with one additional alert level, which is beyond the red level that we are in now.
“I’m not sure that the titles will make a great deal of difference on our ability to get people to understand them.”
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