England's Covid R value could be as high as 1 amid warnings not to mix indoors

2 April 2021, 13:50 | Updated: 3 April 2021, 06:55

A volunteer paints red hearts on the National Covid Memorial Wall in London. The National Covid Memorial Wall in London
A volunteer paints red hearts on the National Covid Memorial Wall in London. The National Covid Memorial Wall in London. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

England's Covid-19 R value could be as high as 1 amid warnings that people should not mix with loved ones indoors over the Easter weekend.

The R value in England has been estimated to be between 0.8 and 1 - meaning that for every 10 people infected with Covid-19 they will go on to infect 8 to 10 others.

Government scientists estimate the growth rate estimate for England is now between -4% and 0, meaning the number of new infections is broadly flat or shrinking by up to 4% every day.  

This is the first week SAGE has not given an estimate for the UK, as restrictions are lifted independently across the four nations, UK level estimates become less meaningful and do not accurately reflect the current picture of the pandemic.

Read more: Met Police warn against 'selfish actions' ahead of Easter weekend

The news comes as the Metropolitan Police has issued warnings for people not to gather in large groups over the Easter weekend following an easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The cooler temperatures could limit scenes of revelry seen in packed parks and beauty spots around the country during almost record-breaking March conditions earlier this week.

But the change in weather could tempt people to meet up inside, which is still banned under coronavirus regulations, except for those in the same household or support bubble.

While groups of six, or two households, are allowed to meet outside, the Metropolitan Police said larger gatherings, including house parties and illegal raves, will be shut down.

the Metropolitan Police has issued warnings for people not to gather in large groups over the Easter weekend
the Metropolitan Police has issued warnings for people not to gather in large groups over the Easter weekend. Picture: PA

The Met is expecting more protests in the capital over the weekend, which are now lawful providing organisers submit a risk assessment and take steps to ensure the gathering is safe.

But the force said: "Enforcement action will be taken, if needed, in the interests of public health."

Parts of the UK saw temperatures reach nearly 24C (75.2F) on Wednesday, with Weybourne, north Norfolk, leading the way at a peak of 23.9C (75F) - short of the nation's hottest ever March temperature of 25.6C (78F), which was recorded in 1968 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.

But the Met Office said temperatures would decline steadily and by Monday would struggle to reach double digits due to the country entering an "Arctic trough".

More to follow...