Coronavirus R rate range goes above 1 in Northern Ireland for first time in seven weeks

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·1-min read
A woman walks through Belfast City CentreÕs shopping district wearing a face mask on the day it was announced face masks will become mandatory in shops in England. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a face mask in Belfast city centre. Northern Ireland's 'R' rate range has risen above 1. (PA via Getty Images)

Northern Ireland’s coronavirus reproduction “R” rate range has risen above 1 – suggesting transmission may be accelerating.

The Northern Ireland government said its current estimate of R is 0.7 to 1.1.

This is the highest value since its Department of Health started releasing its weekly estimates on 4 June.

On 2 July, Northern Ireland’s R was as low as 0.3 to 0.8. On 16 July, a week ago, it was 0.5 to 1.0.

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If R is below 1, it means that on average, an infected person will infect fewer than one other person, meaning the number of new cases will fall over time.

If it is above 1, it means the rate of infection is accelerating.

Announcing the latest R number on Thursday, the Northern Ireland government added: “At present, R will show a high degree of volatility and be heavily influenced by small local clusters, and is therefore not the key indicator for policy decisions.”

As of Thursday, there had been 5,876 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland, with 556 deaths.

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