UK coronavirus alert level ‘to be raised to 5’ – highest possible
Written by on 4 January 2021
The UK’s coronavirus alert level will be raised from 4 to 5 for the first time, government sources have said.
Level 5 or “red” means there is a “material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed”, compared to Level 4 when transmission is “high or rising exponentially”.
The COVID-19 alert level refers to the threat of the epidemic and is separate from the tiering system in England.
It is set by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which includes all four nations’ chief medical officers.
The system was created in May, when the government mapped a way out of the initial lockdown, moving the alert level from 4 to 3.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to address the nation from Downing Street at 8pm tonight.
Scotland has already announced it will lockdown almost all of the country from midnight on Tuesday, with schools closed until at least 1 February.