#coronavirus #COVID19 UK coronavirus alert level: What does it mean to enter Level 5? And how does it differ from the Covid tiers? – Evening Standard

#coronavirus #COVID19

The top alert level means “transmission is high or rising exponentially” and health services are at risk of being overwhelmed.

The national level is based on recommendations by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) but what do the five alerts entail and how is each one set?

What is the alert system?

The Prime Minister said it would help determine how strict social-distancing measures should be.

The system is similar to that used to establish the terrorist threat and run by the recently established JBC.

It has five tiers – from Level 1 to 5 – based on the spread of Covid-19 through the country.

The five levels are as follows:

The five levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 (green): Covid-19 is not known to be present in the UK – no social distancing needed
  • Level 2: Covid-19 is present in the UK, but the number of cases and transmission is low – minimal social distancing needed
  • Level 3: a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation – social distancing relaxed
  • Level 4: a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially – social distancing in force
  • Level 5 (red): as level 4 and there is a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed – strict social distancing needed

What determines which level should be in force?

The country’s alert level is determined primarily by the virus’s reproduction rate or “R rate” – the average number of people that will contract Covid-19 from an infected person.

It is also based on the overall number of coronavirus cases.

The higher the level, the stricter measures the Government is likely to impose in a bid to get the virus under control.

Coronavirus: UK records highest new case total since pandemic started

Who sets the level?

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) recommends what the alert level should be. This is then reviewed by Britain’s four Chief Medical Officers.

The JBC was set up a few months into the pandemic to provide real-time analysis of Covid-19 outbreaks and the rate of spread at both a local and national level.

It advises on specific actions which can be taken to manage rising numbers of infections, such as closing schools or businesses, as well as the risk posed by travellers arriving from abroad.

It also provides evidence to the chief medical officers of each of the UK’s four countries, allowing them to decide if a change of alert level is necessary.

How is it different from the tiered system?

These are determined by the devolved leaders and the Prime Minister, and constitute a response to the UK-wide alert level as well as other factors particular to each nation.

England generally applies a four-tiered approach to localised measures, while the other three nations apply their own four alert levels.

However, Wales and Northern Ireland entered national lockdowns after Christmas, in a bit to curb the surge in infections across both countries.


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