Coronavirus R number across UK rises towards 1

7 August 2020, 14:37

The R number has risen slightly on last week
The R number has risen slightly on last week. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

The UK's R number has slightly risen towards the crucial figure of 1 in the past week, official figures show.

The rate of infection now stands at 0.8 to 1.0, up from 0.8 to 0.9 last week, the Government's Scientific Advisory Committee for Emergencies (Sage) said.

Regionally, it increased in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London, the northeast and Yorkshire, and the Midlands.

However, England's level as a whole stayed the same at 0.8 to 1.0.

The R decreased in the east of England. It stayed level in the North West and South West, but the latest figures suggest the R may be above 1 in these areas, as well as the capital.

It comes as Sage warned that it could not have full confidence the R was below 1. When above 1, the virus begins rapidly accelerating again.

Many areas of the UK saw an R rate rise
Many areas of the UK saw an R rate rise. Picture: PA

The data is based on testing results, hospital admissions, intensive care admissions and deaths and is around two to three weeks behind the current situation, suggesting this was the picture in mid-July.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to give an update on local lockdown curbs in Leicester and North West England later.

Some 4.5 million people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire have been banned from mixing households indoors following a spike in Covid-19 cases. Preston was warned it faces stricter measures after seeing infections double to 45 in the week to 31 July.

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However, new data on Friday from the Office for National Statistics showed the number of cases in England reduced over the past week, despite fears of a second wave brewing in Europe.

New data shows an average of 3,700 people per day in private households in England were estimated to be newly infected with Covid-19 between 27 July and 2 August - down slightly from 4,200 per day in the previous week.

A total of 28,300 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between 27 July and 2 August, according to new estimates, which is the equivalent of about 0.05% of the population - or one in 1,900 individuals.