R rate across the UK falls to between 0.8 and 1

22 January 2021, 14:05 | Updated: 22 January 2021, 15:32

The UK R rate has fallen
The UK R rate has fallen. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The R value of coronavirus transmission across the UK is now between 0.8 and 1, SAGE has confirmed.

Last week, it was between 1.2 and 1.3.

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

When the figure is above 1, it means the outbreak is growing exponentially.

An R number between 0.8 and 1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 10 other people.

All regions of England have seen decreases in the R number and growth rate estimates compared to last week, and R is below or around 1 in every region. 

There is variation across the country, and the R is estimated to be below 1 in areas that have been under tighter restrictions for longest including Tier 4 over the festive period - namely the East of England, London, and the South East.

Read more: £500 Covid payment for those who self-isolate is 'speculation', minister tells LBC

Read more: Police break up 400-person wedding at north London school

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 4% and minus 1% for the UK as a whole.

It means the number of new infections is shrinking by between 1% and 4% every day.

Scientists advising the Government said that all regions of England have seen decreases in the R number and growth rate estimates compared with last week, and R is below or around 1 in every region.

However, they warned that despite the reductions, case levels "remain dangerously high and we must remain vigilant to keep this virus under control, to protect the NHS and save lives".

Sage scientists said: "It is essential that everyone continues to stay at home, whether they have had the vaccine or not.

"We all need to play our part, and if everyone continues to follow the rules, we can expect to drive down the R number across the country."

It comes amid the news that there was a slight drop in the number of people infected with coronavirus in England after lockdown measures were brought in.

Across England, around one in 55 people in private households had the disease between January 10 to 16, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is the equivalent of 1.02 million people or 1.88% of the population, and is down from one in 50 between December 27 to January 2.

Around one in 35 people had coronavirus in London, the highest rate for any region in England.

One in 40 people in north-east England had Covid-19, alongside one in 50 in north-west England and the West Midlands.

The other estimates are: one in 55 people in south-east England, one in 60 in the East Midlands, one in 75 in eastern England, one in 80 in south-west England and one in 85 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Meanwhile, in Wales, around one in 70 people had Covid-19 between January 10 and 16 - unchanged from the previous estimate.

In Northern Ireland, the figure was one in 60 people, up from one in 200 for the December period, while the estimate for Scotland was up slightly from one in 115 people for December 25 to 31 to one in 100 for January 10 to 16.