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Global Times

UK COVID-19 alert level recommended to raise to level 4

Global Times

Source: Xinhua Published: 2020/9/22 10:05:29

Britain's chief medical officers (CMOs) have recommended moving the country's COVID-19 alert level from level 3 to level 4, according to a joint statement released on Monday from the CMOs.

"The CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reviewed the evidence and recommend all 4 nations of the UK should move to level 4," said the statement.

Level 4 means COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation, transmission is high or rising exponentially.

The recommendation was tabled at a time when countries such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

After a period of lower COVID-19 cases and deaths, the number of cases are "now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all 4 nations", said the CMOs.

Britain recorded another 4,368 confirmed COVID-19 cases overnight on Monday, bringing the total number of such cases to 398,625, according to the latest official figures.

"If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS (National Health Service) and other health services over the autumn and winter, everyone has to follow the social distancing guidance, wear face coverings correctly and wash their hands regularly," said the CMOs.

Meanwhile, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said raising the Covid-19 alert level reflects a "significant shift" in the threat posed by the virus.

"The raising of the alert level announced by the UK CMOs reflects the significant shift in the current threat posed by coronavirus," he said.

"This country now faces a tipping point in its response and it is vital everybody plays their part now to stop the spread of the virus and protect lives," he added.

He made the remarks as a further 4,368 cases of coronavirus were lab-confirmed in Britain as of 9:00 a.m. BST (0800 GMT) on Monday, according to the latest government figures.

This broght the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 398,625.

To tackle the rising coronavirus cases, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency COBRA meeting on Tuesday.

COBRA, named after Britain's Cabinet Office Briefing Room A on Whitehall, gathers ministers, civil servants, the police, intelligence officers and others appropriate to whatever they are looking into in an emergency response.

"Tomorrow morning is an opportunity for COBRA to discuss what next steps may be required in the coronavirus response," the prime minister's spokesman said.

The epidemic in Britain is currently doubling around every seven days and that "if we continue on this trajectory, we could see 50,000 cases a day by mid-October", said Hancock.

In addition to new rules of social distancing, the government is also making effort to crank up its daily testing capacity, which is now at 253,521 tests a day. With more labs established, the capacity is expected to increase in the coming months.



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