UK Covid alert lowered to level two as hospital pressure and infections continue to decline
- The country’s four medical directors jointly agreed to lower the threat level
- Level two alert means ‘Covid is in general circulation’ but pressures are easing
- The last time the alert level was at its highest level of four was in December 2021
The UK Covid alert level has been lowered as the latest wave continues to fade.
The country’s four medical directors have jointly recommended that the Covid alert level be raised from level three to level two.
A level two alert means ‘Covid is in general circulation, but direct healthcare pressures and transmission are declining or stable.’
The last time the alert level was at its highest level of four was in December, when the original Omicron variant was sweeping the country.
It had also been at four the previous winter, before the vaccinations, when the Alpha strain had pushed hospital rates to record levels.
The downgraded alert comes after weeks of falling infections and hospital admissions across the UK.
There was a sharp rise in cases from June when the highly infectious BA.5 subvariant took off, sparking fears of a deadly resurgence of the virus.
But the sub-strain turned out to be just as mild as its original variant, Omicron, and the rise in hospital rates was short-lived.
Analysts from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate that around 1.2 million had the virus on any given day in England in the week ending August 16. Cases were down 15% from the previous week.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that around 1.2 million people in England had Covid on any day of the week ending August 16, down 15 per cent from a week.
It means that about one in 45 people were infected during the week, the lowest level since June 11, when 1.1 million (one in 50) were infected.
Infections also fell in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, marking the fifth week in a row that cases declined in all four source nations.
Hospital admissions for Covid have also been in freefall since mid-July. There are about 680 a day in England now compared to 1,900 a month and a half ago.
The analysis suggests that only a fraction of these people were sick primarily with the disease, with the majority admitting for separate reasons and testing positive.
It comes as the UK Covid Inquiry opened its investigation into the decisions made by the Boris Johnson Government during the pandemic.
There will be a particular focus initially in early 2020 until the first lockdown is imposed at the end of March.
The investigation will then look at decisions made throughout 2020 through February 2022.
It will also examine the actions of devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The investigation has set a date for a preliminary hearing later this fall and has promised to hear witness statements next summer.
The chair of the inquiry, Baroness Hallett, said: “My team and I will establish what was understood about Covid-19 at the time, what information was available in each of the four UK nations, and how and why it was They made key decisions, especially early in the pandemic.”
“I will be taking evidence next year to build a complete picture of the challenges facing the Government and how it decided to deal with them.”
The formal process to enable stakeholders to become a core participant in module two of the inquiry, the part that covers government decision-making, opened and will close on September 23.
Principal participants (individuals, organizations, or institutions that have a specific interest in the work of the investigation) can access evidence relevant to the investigation, make opening and closing statements at hearings, and suggest lines of questioning to investigation lawyers .
The module two process will examine decisions made by the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as advised by the civil service, senior political, scientific and medical advisers, and relevant Cabinet sub-committees.
Lady Hallett said: ‘The inquiry has started its module two inquiries, examining the central political and administrative decision-making of the Westminster government.
‘The related modules 2A, 2B and 2C will allow me to see decisions made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.’