THE Covid alert level for the UK should be downgraded from four to three, the country's top medical officers have said following advice from its top scientists.

In a joint statement, the Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis, said the level should be reduced.

It follows great progress on the vaccine front, with two-thirds of all adults now vaccinated, and one third fully protected with both doses of the Covid jab, and infection, hospitalisation and death rates which have come down significantly since lockdown began in January.

The announcement comes ahead of a press conference this afternoon by the Prime Minister in which he is expected to announce that Step Three of the roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead as planned on May 17.

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The joint statement said: "Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 3.

"Thanks to the efforts of the UK public in social distancing and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination programme, case numbers, deaths and COVID hospital pressures have fallen consistently.

"However COVID is still circulating with people catching and spreading the virus every day so we all need to continue to be vigilant. This remains a major pandemic globally.

"It is very important that we all continue to follow the guidance closely and everyone gets both doses of the vaccine when they are offered it."

At Level 4, Covid is being transmitted widely with infections rising exponentially, and social distancing measures maintained strictly.

Level 3 is for when the virus is in general circulation, and measures restricting life can be reduced gradually.

If rates remain low, the UK could move even further down the alert levels in the coming weeks and months. Level 1 is only reached when Covid is no longer present in the UK.