Concerns of growing epidemic as coronavirus R number rises above 1 across UK

  • ITV News Correspondent Emily Morgan discusses the rise in cases

The reproduction rate of coronavirus (R number) may have tipped above 1.0 in London, North East and Yorkshire, the North West and South East regions of England, meaning the spread of Covid-19 is increasing rather than decreasing.

The numbers suggest there is a risk that the overall coronavirus epidemic in the UK is growing, government scientists have said.

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

The official government R number for the UK is between 1.0 and 1.2 but a separate study released earlier by Imperial College shows it could be as high as 1.7.

Regional R Numbers

  • England - 1.0-1.2

  • East of England - 0.9-1.2

  • London - 1.1-1.3

  • Midlands - 0.9-1.1

  • North East and Yorkshire - 1.0-1.2

  • North West - 1.1-1.3

  • South East - 1.0-1.2

  • South West - 0.9-1.2

An R number below 1.0 is crucial for scientists to have confidence that the prevalence of coronavirus is going down in Britain.

If the number is above 1.0 it means each person with the virus will pass it on to more than 1.0 person.

Coronavirus test swabs ready to be analysed. Credit: PA

For example, if the number is 1.1, it means each person with coronavirus is passing it to 1.1 people.

When the UK was under full national lockdown, ministers said the R number needed to be consistently below 1.0 before restrictions could be lifted.

The latest growth rate for the whole of the UK is between minus 1% to plus 3%, a slight change from between minus 3% to plus 1% last week.

The growth rate of coronavirus transmission reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day.

Regional growth rates

  • England +1 to +4

  • East of England -1 to +4

  • London +2 to +4

  • Midlands -1 to +3

  • North East and Yorkshire +1 to +5

  • North West +2 to +5

  • South East 0 to +4

  • South West -1 to +4