In order to chart progress in the weeks and months ahead, the government has announced a new COVID-19 Alert Level. This will be monitored and set by a new Joint Biosecurity Centre.
The alert level will be primarily affected by two key factors:
1. The R – that’s the reproduction rate of infection. This number is the average number of people one infected person passes coronavirus on to. You can find out more about R by watching this video.
2. The number of coronavirus cases in the UK.
The lower the level, the fewer social distancing measures, but the higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be.
The alert levels are:
Level 1: COVID-19 is not known to be present in the UK.
Level 2: COVID-19 is present in the UK, but the number of cases and transmission is low.
Level 3: A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation.
Level 4: A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially.
Level 5: As level 4, and there is a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed.
Over the period of the lockdown, Britain has been in Level 4, but we are now in a position to begin to move into Level 3.
We can and will control the virus if we all stay alert. That means staying at home as much as possible, working from home if you can, limiting contact with other people, keeping your distance when you go out, and washing your hands regularly.