Following the stepping up of the Covid-19 alert level in the UK from level 4 to level 5, the highest mark on the scale, the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) have issued a joint statement.
Backing the increasing of the national Covid-19 alert level, the CMOs also reiterated to the general population however to still attend medical settings for emergency care as normal, with the NHS still on hand and prepared to treat both Covid and non-Covid urgent care needs.
The joint statement read: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England Medical Director recommend that the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 5.
“Many parts of the health systems in the 4 nations are already under immense pressure. There are currently very high rates of community transmission, with substantial numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and in intensive care.
“Cases are rising almost everywhere, in much of the country driven by the new more transmissible variant. We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days.
“Although the NHS is under immense pressure, significant changes have been made so people can still receive lifesaving treatment. It is absolutely critical that people still come forward for emergency care. If you require non-urgent medical attention, please contact your GP or call NHS 111.”
It was co-issued by the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride and NHS England’s National Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis.