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COVID-19: Coronavirus infections in England grow up to 3% a day as R number rises slightly

Written by on 29 May 2021

Coronavirus infections in England are growing by up to 3% a day as the R number increased slightly from 0.9-1.1 to 1.0-1.1, latest figures show.

The nationwide COVID-19 growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of cases is changing day-by-day, is estimated to be between 0% and +3% – up on last week’s -2% to +1%.

It means the number of new infections could be broadly flat or rising.

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The coronavirus R (reproduction) number represents the extent to which the pandemic is growing or shrinking.

An R number between 1.0 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 10 and 11 other people.

Today’s figures, provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), represent the situation two to three weeks ago, due to the delay in people becoming infected, getting symptoms, and needing treatment.

It comes as the Johnson & Johnson single-dose coronavirus vaccine was approved for use in the UK, by the medicines regulator.

England’s vaccination rollout was also extended to anyone aged 30 and over this week amid the fast spread of the Indian variant.

Cases of the highly-transmissible strain have doubled in the space of a week in England, prompting fears that the final step of the prime minister’s lockdown roadmap will be delayed.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said a final decision on easing measures will not be made until 14 June, despite frustration among hospitality firms still not sure if they will be able to reopen.

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Mr Kwarteng said that although the uncertainty was “frustrating”, it is “impossible for anyone to know what the situation will be like in a week or two weeks’ time”.

He also did not rule out keeping businesses closed in the areas that are worst impacted by the variant.

On Thursday, Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson warned the full reopening of society on 21 June “hangs in the balance” – adding that the data collected in the next two to three weeks will be “critical”.

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