THE UK has lowered its Covid-19 alert level from four to three in a downgrade approved of by all four chief medical officers.

The decrease means that the transmission of coronavirus is no longer thought to be “high or exponentially rising” – but health experts warned it does not mean the pandemic is over.

The UK has been sitting at level four of the five-tier alert system since it was announcement last month. The reduction means the threat from the virus has moved from “severe” to “substantial”.

The chief medical officers of each UK nation said it was likely there would still be localised outbreaks of the disease.

The level is set by the joint biosecurity centre and is based on the Covid-19 reproduction number, and the number of cases currently known about.

A statement from the chief medical officers said: “The CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reviewed the evidence and agree with this recommendation to move to level three across the UK.

“There has been a steady decrease in cases we have seen in all four nations, and this continues. It does not mean that the pandemic is over. The virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur.

“We have made progress against the virus thanks to the efforts of the public and we need the public to continue to follow the guidelines carefully to ensure this progress continues.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock called it a big moment for the UK, saying “the Government’s plan is working”.

He added the reduction in cases is a “real testament to the British people’s determination to beat this virus”.

But professor of populations and disease Matt Keeling warned this is not a time for complacency.

He said: “The move to level three is a direct consequence of the public’s response to the social-distancing advice, but does not imply that these efforts should be relaxed.

“The move to level 3 three is not a time for complacency. There is still the prospect of a second wave if controls are relaxed too quickly and the reproductive number rises above one.”