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R number edges up to between 1.3 and 1.5 across the UK

Written by on 16 October 2020

The UK’s coronavirus reproduction (R) number has edged up slightly across the UK, the latest government figures show.

According to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the R number is now between 1.3 and 1.5 – from between 1.2 and 1.5 last week.

The R number is one of many indicators scientists use to determine how quickly COVID-19 the virus is spreading.

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An R number between 1.3 and 1.5 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 13 and 15 other people.

So an R number of between 1.3 and 1.5 means on average every 10 people with the virus will infect between 13 and 15 others.

If the reproduction rate is above one, it means the number of cases will increase exponentially. But if it is below one, the disease will eventually peter out.

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Sage also reported a infection growth rate of +4% to +7%, which means the number of new infections is growing by 4% to 7% every day.

The group said in its “expert view”, it believed “this week’s estimates are reliable, and that there is still widespread growth of the epidemic across the country.”

Which Tier am I in?

Across English regions, the R rate is estimated as being the following:

  • East of England: 1.3 to 1.5
  • London: 1.1 to 1.4
  • Midlands: 1.2 to 1.5
  • North East and Yorkshire: 1.3 to 1.4
  • North West: 1.3 to 1.5
  • South East: 1.3 to 1.5
  • South West: 1.3 to 1.6

London is the area with the lowest, lower estimate, while the highest, higher estimate is in the South West.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said getting the R number below one was important in managing the pandemic in the UK.

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The estimates come days after the government revealed its new tier system for managing local outbreaks in England.

Large parts of the country are in Tier 1 and 2, while the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are in the highest alert level, Tier 3, after a huge rise in cases.