Coronavirus: New alert system devised to monitor threat level

11 May 2020, 11:20

The UK is currently at level four of the five-tier system, just below the "most critical" threat
The UK is currently at level four of the five-tier system, just below the "most critical" threat. Picture: HM Government

By Megan White

A new alert system has been devised to monitor the threat posed by Covid-19.

The UK is currently at level four of the five-tier system, just below the "most critical" threat - the kind that would have seen the NHS swamped by coronavirus cases.

Boris Johnson used his address to the nation on Sunday to suggest the country was now edging towards level three.

The further down the Covid alert level ladder the country goes, the more lockdown measures could be eased.

The Prime Minister said: "We are establishing a new Covid alert system run by a new Joint Biosecurity Centre.

"And that Covid alert level will be determined primarily by R and the number of coronavirus cases.

"And in turn that Covid alert level will tell us how tough we have to be in our social-distancing measures - the lower the level, the fewer the measures.

"The higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be.

"There will be five alert levels.

"Level one means the disease is no longer present in the UK and level five is the most critical - the kind of situation we could have had if the NHS had been overwhelmed.

Boris Johnson's coronavirus lockdown speech

"Over the period of the lockdown, we have been in level four, and it is thanks to your sacrifice we are now in a position to begin to move in steps to level three."

In a televised address to the nation from Downing Street on Sunday, the PM announced a phased reopening of non-essential shops and schools in England could potentially begin from June 1.

Mr Johnson also told those who cannot work from home should return to their jobs from Monday, but warnings have been issued over the use of public transport.

The Government plans to publish a 50-page document in Parliament later today to fill in any gaps left after the Prime Minister's speech.

The PM will address the Commons revealing more information on his planned Covid-19 alert system and his "first sketch of a road map" for restarting the economy and social lives in England.

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Government officials said tennis, water sports, angling and golf would be permitted as long as social distancing was enforced, Mr Johnson granted unlimited exercise in England from Wednesday.

And people will also be allowed to sunbathe or chat in English parks with one other person from a different household as long as two-metre distancing is maintained.

Mr Johnson began easing the lockdown he imposed on March 23 as official figures suggested the UK death toll passed 36,800.