Covid-19 alert level downgraded as number of cases fall

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The Covid-19 alert level in the UK has been downgraded amid falling cases.

The chief medical officers of the UK nations and the national medical director of the NHS in England have jointly recommended that the Covid alert level moves from level three to level two.

A level two alert means that “Covid-19 is in general circulation but direct Covid-19 healthcare pressures and transmission are declining or stable”.

They said the Covid-19 wave of the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 is “subsiding”.

However, they said that further Covid surges are “likely” as they urged people to take up the offer of vaccination.

The autumn booster campaign is due to start within days.

“Based on UK Health Security Agency advice, the UK chief medical officers and NHS England national medical director have recommended to ministers the Covid alert level moves from level three to level two,” they said in a statement.

“Hospitals and the wider health systems remain extremely busy overall but the summer BA.4 and BA.5 wave is subsiding and direct Covid severe illness is now a much smaller proportion of this.

“Severe Covid cases, direct Covid healthcare pressures, direct Covid deaths and Office for National Statistics community positivity estimates have decreased.

“Covid remains present in the community and we may see an increase in cases with BA 4.6 and BA.2.75 circulating, but do not expect this to lead to an immediate increase in hospital pressures.

“This will continue to be kept under review.

“Further Covid surges are likely, so please be prepared by getting a vaccination when it is offered.”

The recommendation to downgrade the alert level has been accepted by health ministers across the UK.

Professor Christina Pagel, a member of the Independent Sage group, wrote on Twitter: “Quick Covid update for England – hospital admissions still falling and we are now back where we were in May 2022 between the two recent Omicron waves.

“In May we could already see BA.5 growing, but there’s nothing like that in England right now (as far as I can tell-good news!)”

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