Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced the news in the government’s daily briefing.
Since Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” speech last Sunday, we’ve had more detail about how the UK’s exit from lockdown might look. Amongst the more visual aids provided for the exit strategy was a coronavirus alert level system, which ranged from level five (“risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed”) down to level one (“COVID-19 no longer present in the UK”). Despite its resemblance to a certain peri-peri heat scale, the system helps to outline how any easing of measures might look – and today, the UK government revealed that we’re ready to move to level three.
When the alert system was unveiled and the first easing measures began, the UK was hovering somewhere between level four (“transmission is high or rising expontentially, social distancing continues”) and level three (“virus is in general circulation, gradual relaxation of restrictions”). The higher the threat level from coronavirus, the stricter the lockdown measures would have to be. Now, just over a week later, the government feels secure enough that infection rates are falling to announce a “careful” move to level three.
Alok Sharma, who delivered today’s government briefing, said that “thanks to you, people across the country, we have collectively helped to bring the R level down. We are now in a position to begin moving to level 3, in careful steps”.
Exactly what will happen in level three – beyond the current measures, which have been expanded to include unlimited daily exercise, and the ability to see one person from outside your household in the park – hasn’t been made clear yet, but it’s another promising step out of the UK lockdown, which has been in effect for almost two months.