THE threat level for coronavirus will be moved up from 3 to 4.

The chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland said in a joint statement that all four nations of the UK should move to Level 4.

They said: “The Joint Biosecurity Centre has recommended that the Covid-19 alert level should move from Level 3 (a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation) to Level 4 (a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially).

“The CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reviewed the evidence and recommend all four nations of the UK should move to Level 4.

“After a period of lower Covid cases and deaths, the number of cases are now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations.

Southend Standard: Prime Minister Boris JohnsonPrime Minister Boris Johnson

“If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS and other health services over the autumn and winter everyone has to follow the social distancing guidance, wear face coverings correctly and wash their hands regularly.

“We know this will be concerning news for many people; please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this.”

Downing Street said Boris Johnson and the leaders of the devolved administrations had agreed to act with a “united approach, as much as possible” in tackling coronavirus.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Earlier today, the Prime Minister had calls with the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland about how coronavirus is spreading across the country.

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“During these calls, the Prime Minister made clear that the rising infection rates are a cause for great concern, which he is taking very seriously.

“He reiterated his unwavering commitment to working with the devolved administrations as we continue to tackle the virus. They all agreed to act with a united approach, as much as possible, in the days and weeks ahead.”

The devolved leaders will take part in a Cobra meeting chaired by Mr Johnson on Tuesday.