The coronavirus alert level has been raised from level 3 to level 4 for the first time since June due to fears about the rising infection rate.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre has recommended the change, meaning transmission of the virus is ‘high or rising exponentially’.
It was last changed on Friday June 19 when it was lowered from from 4 to 3. Prior to this, the alert level had been at 4 since the system was set up in May.
In a joint statement released this afternoon, the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland said that all four nations of the UK should now move to Level 4.
They said: ‘After a period of lower Covid cases and deaths, the number of cases are now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations.
‘If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS 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.
‘We know this will be concerning news for many people; please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this.’
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