Covid R rate rises slightly to between 0.9 and 1

11 December 2020, 13:42 | Updated: 11 December 2020, 13:45

File photo: Social distancing sign on Regent St, London
File photo: Social distancing sign on Regent St, London. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Government scientists have said they are "not confident" that R is below 1 in all English regions after it rose to between 0.9 and 1 in the past week.

The reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK is now between 0.9 and 1, the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said.

The R value in England is between 0.8 and 1, but Sage said it is not confident that R is below 1 across the country, particularly in London and parts of the South East.

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Last week, the R number was between 0.8 and 1.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.

An R number between 0.9 and 1 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 9 and 10 other people.

The estimates for R and the growth rate are provided by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), a sub-group of Sage.

The growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, is between minus 2% and zero for the UK as a whole.

It means the number of new infections is shrinking by between zero and 2% every day.

Estimates for R and growth rates are shown as a range and the true values are likely to lie within this range, according to the experts.

Sage also said the figures published on Friday more accurately represent the average situation over the past few weeks rather than the present situation.