October 25, 2020

Coronavirus R number rises again in UK - to between 1.2 and 1.5

September 25, 2020

The coronavirus 'R number' for the UK is estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.5, say government advisers.

Last week, it was between 1.1 to 1.4 according to science advisory body SAGE.

It now believes there is "widespread growth of the epidemic across the country", with new infections rising by between 4% and 8% every day.

The R number, or reproduction number, indicates the average number of people each person with coronavirus goes on to infect.

If it is one, each infected person will on average pass the virus on to one other.

If it is above one, it means the number of coronavirus cases will increase exponentially.

However, if the R number is below one, the disease will eventually peter out as not enough new people are being infected to sustain the outbreak.

A number between 1.2 and 1.5 means every 10 people infected will - on average - infect between 12 and 15 others.

Live updates on coronavirus from UK and around the world

The figure represents transmission over the last few weeks rather than a current snapshot, due to the delay between someone being infected, having symptoms and needing healthcare.

SAGE says the "true" R number is likely to lie within the range it provides.

The R number for England alone is estimated to be the same as the UK's - 1.2 to 1.5 - but the east, southeast and southwest have a slightly lower range.

Scotland, meanwhile, raised its R number estimate to between 1.2 and 1.6 on Thursday.

Wales also raised its number to between 0.7 and 1.2.

Northern Ireland gives a single figure, and on Thursday raised it from 1.2 to 1.5.

Dr Bharat Pankhania, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter, told Sky News the figures were "a clear marker things are going in the upward direction" and that "the rate of increase is not a low graph, it's a steep curve now".

Other coronavirus developments include:

  • Cardiff and Swansea to go into local lockdown from 6pm on Sunday, says Welsh government
  • Scotland sets a new daily record of 558 cases, as does Northern Ireland at 273
  • Leeds likely to face new restrictions from midnight, says council leader
  • London to go on national watchlist, according to group representing the capital's councils

The SAGE R number and growth rate estimates are put together using a variety of data such as virus tests and information on hospital admissions.

"Contact pattern surveys", which track information on behaviour, and household infection surveys - where people are swabbed for the virus - are also used.

The latest R number figures come as separate research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated more than 103,000 people in England had the virus in the week ending 19 September.

That is almost double the week before, when it was 59,800.

The ONS also estimated new daily infections in England had risen from 6,000 to 9,600.

Rate this item
(0 votes)

How to Listen

DAB+

Online

Mobile Apps

Smart Speaker

Latest Tweets

Great TIP - don’t forget the clocks ‘fall’ back at 2am tomorrow
RT @northyorkscc: If you've got symptoms of #Covid19, Government run testing sites are at the following locations over the next few days.…
The Hairbrush Hits Party is on NOW with @jasonbainbridge on @GreatYorksRadio until 10 #StaySafe #northyorkshire RT https://t.co/cvst0UiLHD
Follow GreatYorkshireRadio #HandsFaceSpace on Twitter