UK’s coronavirus ‘R’ infection rate back up to as high as 1 after rising in last week

The Government’s top advisory group has warned that the rate of coronavirus infection is rising and could be close to one.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said the UK reproduction number for the coronavirus is now between 0.7 and one.

Last week it stood between 0.5 and 0.9.

If the reproduction number (R) is higher than one, then the rate of infection will rise across the UK.

If it is lower than one, then the outbreak will shrink.

The research was carried out by six research groups and suggested that cases in care homes and hospitals accounted for a greater proportion of cases than last week.

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Increased movement may be affecting the R

While the increased movement of people which was legalised this week may have led to more infections, it is too soon after this happened for any change to show up in the data.

The R is estimated using data from hospitalisations, intensive care demand, deaths and the number of social contacts people have.

SAGE is currently working to calculate the regional R numbers.

It is thought that the rate of transmission is now lower in London than it is in the North East and Scotland.

It is thought the rate of infection is lower in London than elsewhere in the country

Yesterday a modelling study by Public Health England and the Cambridge MRC Biostatistics Unit found that the R in London was just 0.4, compared to 0.8 in the North East and Yorkshire.

In the North West it was 0.73 the study said, 0.76 in the South West, 0.68 in the Midlands and 0.71 in the South East and South.

The study released today questioned those numbers and suggests they are actually higher however.

Today’s study suggests the R is rising

It comes amid a major row between the government and unions who say June 1 is too early to reopen primary schools.

The Department for Education document said: “The changes proposed from 11 May are expected to allow R to remain below 1 if adherence rates to social distancing measures do not drop.

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“Any changes in adherence rates or behavioural changes could have a much larger impact on R.

“This is why it is critical that we continue to monitor and review the scientific advice on transmission rates before we ask education and childcare settings to invite a greater number of children to return on 1 June.”

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