UK Covid alert level raised to 4 due to Omicron

News channels are reporting that the UK’s coronavirus alert level has been raised to level four in a joint statement from the UK chief medical officers and the NHS England National Medical director. This is due to the spread of Omicron. The UK was last at level four back in May.

The statement adds:

Transmission of COVID-19 is already high in the community, mainly still driven by Delta, but the emergence of Omicron adds additional and rapidly increasing risk to the public and healthcare services.

Early evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from Omicron is reduced. Data on severity will become clearer over the coming weeks but hospitalisations from Omicron are already occurring and these are likely to increase rapidly.

When vaccine protection is reduced in the way that is happening with Omicron it is essential to top up that protection with a booster. Both booster vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) increase the immune response substantially and show good effectiveness although with some reduction compared to Delta.

The NHS is currently under pressure mainly driven by non-COVID-19 pressures. With a variant spreading with increased transmissibility and reduced vaccine effectiveness, we are likely to see this pressure rise soon.

It is extremely important that if you are eligible, you get your COVID-19 vaccination now – whether this be your first, second or booster dose.

People should continue take sensible precautions including ventilating rooms, using face coverings, testing regularly and isolating when symptomatic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to make a televised statement on Covid at 20:00 GMT this evening but no new restrictions are expected to be announced. Level 4 means a high or rising level of transmission.

Cases in our area are dropping, bucking the national trend for now. In Bude, in the 7 days to 7th December, the total cases equalled 64, a rolling rate of 603.8, still high but falling. Numbers in Poundstock and Kilkhampton, previously very high, also dropped to 58 (761.8), and Holsworthy, Bradworthy and Welcombe dropped to 73 (721.8).

Hartland Coast hit 27 (a case rate 414.6). Cornwall had 3024 cases (a case rate of 525.4). Devon’s cases dropped to 5400 (666.1).

In Bude & Stratton, on 11th December, the following percentages had been vaccinated:

  • 1st dose
  • 2nd dose
  • 3rd dose or boosters

There is an opportunity to improve that figure this coming week.


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