Covid: R number in UK falls to between 1.1-1.3 but cases still rising

The R number has dropped in the UK, new Sage figures show. Credit: PA

The R number of coronavirus in the UK has dropped from 1.2-1.4 to 1.1-1.3, meaning the growth of the virus has slowed slightly.

It means on average every 10 people with the virus will infect between 11 and 13 others, so the number of infections is still rising.

Data released on Friday by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shows a growth rate between +2% and +4% and that the number of new infections is growing by 2% to 4% every day.

In order for the number of cases to shrink, the R number must drop below 1. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.

The South West, Midlands and South East are among the areas seeing the highest growth, according to Sage.

The South West is seeing growth of between four to seven per cent a day, while the South East and the Midlands has a growth of between three and six per cent.

A graph showing the R number in each part of England.

The South West and South East have some of the lowest confirmed coronavirus cases in those regions.

Reassuringly, the North West, which has the highest number of infections in England, Sage data shows.

Figures show the R in the North West is 1.0-1.2, which means there is growth of one and three per cent.

The report added: “It is Sage’s expert view, however, that this week’s estimates are reliable, and that there is still widespread growth of the epidemic across the country.”

Nearly a fifth of England will soon be under the toughest coronavirus restrictions as the number of patients in hospital continues to rise.

A coronavirus advice sign in Sheffield city centre Credit: Dave Higgens/PA

Nottinghamshire entered Tier 3 on Friday morning, while West Yorkshire will move up to the highest alert level from Monday.

It will take the total number of people in the highest level of restrictions to just over 11 million – 19.6% of the population.

And with the Tees Valley and the West Midlands expecting to be moved up to Tier 3, millions more people could soon be under the strictest level of Covid-19 restrictions.