Covid: R number falls to between 0.6 and 0.9 across the UK

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect. Credit: PA

The latest coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, is between 0.6 and 0.9.

Government data released on Friday puts the 'R' at between 0.6 and 0.9 across the UK and indicates that the number of new infections is shrinking by between 3% to 6% every day.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but when it is below 1 it means the epidemic is shrinking.

An R number between 0.6 and 0.9 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between six and nine other people.

Last Friday, the government put the R number at between 0.7 and 0.9 - meaning it had dropped below 1 for the first time since July.

The estimates for R and the growth rate are provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Credit: PA Images

Data released on Friday by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that infection rates still remain high, despite the fact they fell across the UK in the week ending 12 February.

Around one in 115 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between February 6 and 12, the ONS estimated.

This is down from around one in 80 people for the period January 31 to February 6.

It is the lowest figure since November 29 to December 5, when the estimate also stood at one in 115 people.

However, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 is similar to what it was during last year's peak of outbreak, in April.

Both the latest R number and ONS survey results come as the government prepares to release its plans to ease lockdown measures. Ministers face the challenge of loosening restrictions without causing cases to flare.

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