Coronavirus: UK Covid Alert Level raised to Level 4

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Added to this is the increasing strain on the NHS, that is under greater pressure than ever before.

This winter the NHS is having to deal not just with a tidal wave of Covid patients, but it is having to carry this alongside its other non-Covid duties.

Major operations have already been cancelled for many, with nearly 13,000 operations cancelled in the last two months alone.

Without further intervention, there is a real danger that the NHS, which so many rely on, could be stretched further beyond its limit than it ever has been.

But what does this alert level mean, what happens next?

The UK has five Covid Alert Levels, ranging from one to five.

Level one means that Covid is no longer present in the UK.

Level two means the number of cases and transmission is low.

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Level three means the virus is in general circulation.

Until this evening, this was the level the UK was at.

Level four means that transmission is high and rising exponentially; one of the recommendations on this level is that social distancing should continue.

Level five is the highest Covid Alert Level the Government has; if it moves into this alert level, it means that there is a risk of healthcare services becoming overwhelmed.

Whilst the alert level changes, it doesn’t signify the introduction of any new measures beyond the move into Plan B announced earlier this week.

Plan B restrictions include the mandatory wearing of masks in indoor venues such as theatres and cinemas.

Masks will also be mandatory for any venue with a capacity of more than 10,000 people.

From tomorrow the public will be asked to work from home where they can and a form of Covid status certification, similar to vaccine passports, will be introduced too.

The raising of the Covid Alert Level is in part a response to the rapid spreading of the Omicron Variant.

This is a variant that poses a real threat not just to Christmas, but to the lives of so many people.

In response, tonight Boris Johnson will hold a press conference at 8pm this evening.

At this conference it is expected that he will discuss the new measures and encourage more people to get their booster vaccine.

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