Coronavirus R number in UK increases again to between 1.2 and 1.5

The reproduction rate of coronavirus (R number) has increased to above 1.0 in all parts of England - including London, the Midlands and North East and Yorkshire.

The numbers suggest there is a risk that the overall coronavirus epidemic in the UK is increasing dramatically and not decreasing.

The Scientist's Advisory Group to the government (SAGE) has said "this week’s estimates are reliable, and that there is widespread growth of the epidemic across the country".

According to the government the official government R number for the UK is between 1.2 and 1.5, a rise from last week's 1.1 to 1.4.

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.

Regional R Numbers

  • England - 1.2-1.5

  • East of England - 1.1-1.3

  • London - 1.2-1.4

  • Midlands - 1.2-1.5

  • North East and Yorkshire - 1.2-1.5

  • North West - 1.2-1.5

  • South East - 1.0-1.3

  • South West - 1.1-1.4

 If the R 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.

London has been placed on the coronavirus watchlist. Credit: PA

The latest growth rate for the whole of the UK is between plus 4% to plus 8%, a stark change from between plus 2% to plus 7% last week.

The growth rate of coronavirus transmission, which reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, has also increased from last week's figures.

Regional growth rates

  • England +4 to +8

  • East of England +1 to +4

  • London +4 to +9

  • Midlands +3 to +7

  • North East and Yorkshire +4 to +8

  • North West +3 to +9

  • South East +1 to +5

  • South West +1 to +6

The latest R number and growth rate comes as Leeds prepares to be the latest city to impose restrictions on its residents from midnight, with a ban on people socialising in each other’s homes.

The Office for National Statistics also revealed on Friday that more than 100,000 people have had Covid-19 from September 13 to 19 in England - up 60% on the previous week.