Chief medical officers have lowered the UK’s Covid threat level from four to three, meaning the virus is in general circulation but not rising exponentially.
In a joint statement, the chief medical officers said it was thanks to the efforts of the general public with social distancing, and the impact of the vaccination programme, that Covid case numbers, deaths and Covid hospital pressures had consistently fallen.
“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,” they added.
Threat level three means the virus is in general circulation, and allows for a gradual relaxing of restrictions and social distancing measures.
Unlike level three, threat level four dictates that transmission of the virus is high or rising exponentially.
The decision to lower the UK’s threat level comes ahead of a press conference later today, in which Boris Johnson is expected to confirm major easing of restrictions will go ahead from next week.
From 17 May, up to six people, or two households, will be able to meet indoors for the first time in months. Indoor hospitality will be able to reopen and people will be able to hug loved ones again.