Coronavirus in retreat across the UK as official rate of infections falls

Yahoo News UK
The R number refers to how many people a person with coronavirus infects on average. (PA Images)
The R number refers to how many people a person with coronavirus infects on average. (PA Images)

The coronavirus “R rate” has stayed at the same level this week, the government has confirmed, remaining between 0.7 and 0.9 for the UK as a whole.

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The range has decreased slightly in England since last week, and now stands at 0.7-0.9.

The R number refers to how many people a person with coronavirus infects on average.

The R range is higher in some regions, with London seeing a rate of between 0.7 and 1, and between 0.8 and 1 in the Midlands.

New data on the coronavirus growth rate released for the first time by the government today shows that the rate of spread of the coronavirus infection across the UK is shrinking.

coronavirus growth rates across England
coronavirus growth rates across England

Official figures suggest that for UK as a whole, the current growth rate is minus 4% to minus 2%.

The growth rate reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, and is an additional measure to the R rate for calculating the spread of COVID-19.

Growth rates provide different information from R estimates, by suggesting the size and speed of change, whereas the R value only gives data on the direction of change.

Experts say each should be considered alongside other measures of the spread of disease.

The R value and growth rate for the regions of England are:


– East of England: 0.7-0.9, minus 6% to minus 1%
– London: 0.7–1.0, minus 5% to plus 1%
– Midlands: 0.8–1.0, minus 4% to 0%
– North East and Yorkshire: 0.7-0.9, minus 5% to minus 1%
– North West: 0.7–1.0, minus 4% to 0%
– South East: 0.7–0.9, minus 5% to minus 1%
– South West: 0.6-0.9, minus 6% to 0%

Last week, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) put the overall R rate range across the UK at between 0.7 and 0.9, and 0.8-1.0 across England.

Regional values for R across England also showed that the rate could have risen above 1 in the South West, with a range of between 0.8-1.1.

An R number of above 1 means the COVID-19 outbreak is growing in that area.

The latest information on the R rate range comes as Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland advised that the coronavirus alert level be reduced from Level 4 to Level 3, which means the epidemic is in “general circulation”, rather than transmission being high or rising exponentially.

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