UK coronavirus R rate rises above 1

11 September 2020, 13:50 | Updated: 11 September 2020, 15:02

The coronavirus R rate is now above 1, SAGE reported
The coronavirus R rate is now above 1, SAGE reported. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The coronavirus R number has risen above 1 in the UK, official figures show.

This means the virus is growing exponentially.

It comes as the number of newly diagnosed cases continues to rise, with higher incidence seen in young people aged 18 to 24 years.

SAGE have said their latest estimate for the R rate across the UK is between 1.0 and 1.2. Last week’s official R rate was 0.9 to 1.1.

They have described the figures as a "wake-up call", saying additional measures such as local interventions may be needed to control the spread of the virus.

The R rate - also known as the reproduction number - is a way of rating coronavirus or any disease's ability to spread.

The rate has not been this high since early March, however the virus is still at much lower levels than at the peak of the pandemic in April.

The figure is slightly higher in London and the North West - between 1.1 and 1.3 in both regions.

The growth rate of coronavirus transmission - which reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day - has also increased slightly.

It's now between minus 1 per cent and plus 3 per cent per day, a slight change from between minus 1 per cent and plus 2 per cent last week.

It comes as new laws on how many people can socialise indoors and outdoors are being introduced from Monday.

The ONS said in recent weeks there has been an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 aged 17 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years.

But they said the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 aged 50 years and over appears to be stable or declining.

Katherine Kent, co-head of analysis for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: "Our results this week suggest that there has been an increase in Covid-19 infections in England during recent weeks with higher infection rates among 17-34-year-olds.

"These findings highlight how important it is that we continue to monitor Covid-19 infections in the country.

"We are grateful to our many participants who are continuing to make this survey possible."

In the East of England, the R number is 0.9-1.2, while the growth rate is between minus 1% and plus 4%.

The R number in the Midlands is 0.9-1.1, while the growth rate in the region is between minus 1% and plus 3%.

In the North East and Yorkshire, the R value is 1.0-1.2, while the growth rate is between plus 1% and plus 5%.

In the South East, the R value in the region is 1.0-1.2, while the growth rate is between zero and plus 4%.

The South West has an R value of 0.9-1.2 and a growth rate of between minus 1% and plus 4%.

In London, the growth rate is between plus 2% and plus 4% while in the North West, the figure is between plus 2% and plus 5%.

Over the past few months, R and growth rate estimates have been less useful in determining the state of the epidemic as the number of coronavirus cases was low.