Covid-19 is now considered in 'general circulation' as the UK alert level is downgraded from three to two.

The change comes after recommendations were made by the UK's four chief medical officers, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.

A level two alert means "COVID-19 is in general circulation but direct healthcare pressures and transmission are declining or stable".

However, the alert level will continue to be monitored and kept under review.

UK Covid alert level downgraded to level 2 after chief medical officers' advice

The medical officers reported that the Covid-19 wave of the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 is “subsiding”.

They also noted that Covid rates in the community have decreased as well as the number of severe cases needing hospital care.

Further Covid surges are still “likely” as they urged people to take up the offer of vaccination.

The autumn booster campaign is due to start within days.

In a statement, the medical officer said: “Based on UK Health Security Agency advice, the UK chief medical officers and NHS England national medical director have recommended to ministers the Covid alert level moves from level three to level two.

“Hospitals and the wider health systems remain extremely busy overall but the summer BA.4 and BA.5 wave is subsiding and direct Covid severe illness is now a much smaller proportion of this.

“Severe Covid cases, direct Covid healthcare pressures, direct Covid deaths and Office for National Statistics community positivity estimates have decreased.

“Covid remains present in the community and we may see an increase in cases with BA 4.6 and BA.2.75 circulating, but do not expect this to lead to an immediate increase in hospital pressures.

“This will continue to be kept under review.

“Further Covid surges are likely, so please be prepared by getting a vaccination when it is offered.”

The recommendation to downgrade the alert level has been accepted by health ministers across the UK.

Professor Christina Pagel, a member of the Independent Sage group, wrote on Twitter: “Quick Covid update for England – hospital admissions still falling and we are now back where we were in May 2022 between the two recent Omicron waves.

“In May we could already see BA.5 growing, but there’s nothing like that in England right now (as far as I can tell-good news!)”

What are the UK Covid alert levels?

The Covid alert levels in the UK are categorised as follows:

  • Level 1: COVID-19 is present in the UK, but the number of cases and transmission is low
  • Level 2: COVID-19 is in general circulation in the UK, but direct COVID-19 healthcare pressures are low and transmission is declining or stable
  • Level 3: COVID-19 is in general circulation in the UK
  • Level 4: COVID-19 is in general circulation in the UK; transmission is high and direct COVID-19 pressure on healthcare services is widespread and substantial or rising
  • Level 5: as level 4 and there is a material risk of healthcare services being directly overwhelmed by COVID-19

For more information, visit the UK Government website.