1. ITV Report

Coronavirus rate of infection stays the same despite lockdown restrictions easing

The plateauing of R is being putting down to the higher proportions of infections in hospitals and care homes. Credit: PA

The rate of infection (R) has not changed from last week when it was between 0.7-1, according to the Scientific Advice Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

The R number needs to be below 1, before Prime Minister Boris Johnson will start further easing lockdown in England.

The lack of change in the R number is being to put down to the higher proportions of infections happening hospitals and care homes, rather than wider society.

The numbers related to R are doing down, with hospital admissions, occupied beds and deaths dropping.

SAGE also discussed the impact of potentially reopening schools in June.

There is a high degree of confidence that almost all children do not get severe cases of the disease.

Teachers are rated as average or slightly below average in terms of getting infected.

On its own, children returning to school will not have a significant impact on R but the knock-on impact of parents going back to work could influence the infection rate.

However, an effective test, track, trace and isolation system must be place in order for schools to be reopened.

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