UK’s Covid warning downgraded from level three to two

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The virus is still in circulation but does not have the same severity  (PA Archive)
The virus is still in circulation but does not have the same severity (PA Archive)

The Covid threat in the UK has been downgraded from a level three to a level two with transmissions said to be declining.

The Department of Health said on Wednesday that the chief medical officers of the UK nations have jointly recommended that the alert level been moved down.

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

The department has said that 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 ONS community positivity estimates have decreased,” a statement added.

“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 number of Covid 19 deaths in the UK have fallen for the third week in a row, although the total number of deaths from all causes remains above average for this time of year.

The drop in the number of cases in August, follows a rise in July when the BA.4 and BA.5 varients were creeping up. The figures peaked at 810 deaths in the week to July 29 and have been dropping off since. At the very peak of the wave, in January 2021, the alpha varient had pushed the weekly death total to nearly 8,500. adults over 50

As part of the government’s next vaccination rollout adults over 50 will be offered a jab to target two strains of the virus. Health secretary Steve Barclay said Moderna’s new bivalent vaccine, which targets both the original Covid and the Omicron type, will be part of the rollout from early September. It will also extend to vulnerable people.