LONDON (AA) - The UK’s coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from Level 5 to 4 after an agreement of all four nations' chief health officials on Thursday.
“Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the 4 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 4 nations,” a government statement said.
It said health services in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland “remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital,” however, “thanks to the efforts of the 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.”
The statement also called on people to remain vigilant and continue to follow guidelines, no matter if they are vaccinated or not, and added that the vaccines will have a major impact in time.
The new Level 4 means that transmission is now "high or rising exponentially."
The UK has lost more than 120,000 people to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic last year.
A massive vaccination program is currently underway, with 18 million people or nearly one-third of the population having received the first dose of a vaccine so far.