Covid: R number in England rises slightly to between 0.8 and 1.1

Credit: PA

The Covid reproduction number, or R value, in England has risen slightly - meaning there is a chance the epidemic is starting to grow.

The R value is now between 0.8 and 1.1 - up from between 0.8 and 1 last week - which suggests that, on average, every 10 people infected will pass the virus on to between 8 and 11 other people.

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

Surge testing is taking place in Bolton, one of the main areas where the Indian virus has been detected. Credit: PA

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

The growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, is between minus 3% and plus 1% for England.

It means that the number of new infections could be broadly flat, shrinking by up to 3% every day, or growing by up to 1% every day.

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Sage has said that R estimates now span 1 for some England regions.

However, it added these estimates do not necessarily mean R is definitively above 1 and that the epidemic is increasing, just that the uncertainty means it cannot be ruled out.