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UK’s R number down to between 1.2 and 1.5

Written by on 09/10/2020

The UK’s coronavirus reproduction (R) number has decreased slightly to a maximum of 1.5, according to the latest government figures.

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said the R number is now between 1.2 and 1.5 – down from between 1.3 and 1.6 last week.

The R number is one of many indicators scientists use to determine how quick the virus is spreading.

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Reproduction rate means the average number of people each person with coronavirus goes on to infect.

So an R number of between 1.2 and 1.5 means on average every 10 people with COVID-19 will infect between 12 and 15 others.

If the reproduction rate is above one, it means the number of cases will increase exponentially. But if it is below one, the disease will eventually peter out.

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SAGE said it was almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing.

“While the R value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate,” the group said.

“This is currently the case for every region of England and all have positive growth rates, reflecting increases in the number of new infections across the country.”

The change comes amid government proposals to split coronavirus restrictions in England into three tiers from as soon as next week, after infection rates soared in the North and the Midlands.

Sources have told Sky News parts of the North set to be under the strictest measures – tier three – would see pubs, restaurants and cafes close and all inter-household contact banned.

A Whitehall source described the number of COVID-19 cases in northern England as “alarming”, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson under pressure to follow Scotland’s “circuit breaker” two-week closure of hospitality venues in the worst affected areas.

Yesterday 17,540 new coronavirus cases were reported in the UK, along with another 77 deaths.

 Sky News

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