Will lockdown restrictions be further relaxed as virus alert level reduced to 3?

Signs have been put up around Bury St Edmunds reminding people to help businesses with their new gu

Signs have been put up around Bury St Edmunds reminding people to help businesses with their new guidelines Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The government has reduced the coronavirus alert level from four to three - meaning there is likely to be a ‘gradual relaxation’ of more lockdown restrictions.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced that Leicester had actually had far more positive test resul

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced that Leicester had actually had far more positive test results than shown in public data Picture: PIPPA FOWLES/DOWNING STREET/CROWN COPYRIGHT - Credit: PA

At level three, Covid-19 is “in general circulation” among the community, whereas at level four the transmission level is “high or rising exponentially”.

The decision to reduce the alert level was made following a recommendation by the government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre.

The Chief Medical Officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all agreed with the move.

MORE: The coronavirus death toll: How many ‘excess deaths’ have there been in your area?

Coronavirus lockdown measures have been relaxed in recent weeks, with schools opening for certain age groups, all non-essential shops allowed to reopen and people permitted to exercise an unlimited amount of times per day.

Groups of up to six people from different households can now meet outside and the hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, is preparing for an expected reopening date of July 4.

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP, said: “The UK moving to a lower alert level is a big moment for the country, and a real testament to the nation’s determination to beat this virus.

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“The government’s plan is working.

“Infection rates are rapidly falling, we have protected the NHS and, thanks to the hard work of millions in our health and social care services, we’re getting the country back on her feet.”

On behalf of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said: “It is promising to hear that the government has growing confidence in the ongoing community response to Covid-19 and has decided to move from alert level four to three.

“This reflects our experience locally where the number of new cases of coronavirus has fallen.

“It is so important now, more than ever as we continue to respond to the pandemic that we all stick with the simple, basic principles that have become second nature to us all over the last few months - washing our hands and following social distancing guidance.

“As a result of us all doing what we can to support each other through these challenging times, we have managed to reduce the spread of the virus up to this point.

“It is critical that we continue to do the right things and follow the latest guidance to protect our families and friends.”

MORE: No new coronavirus-related deaths in Suffolk or north Essex hospitals

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