The number of new infections could be shrinking by up to seven per cent in the South West, the latest government data shows.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has just released the latest coronavirus growth rate figures and the regions R rate – the reproduction value.

Scientists said the virus reproduction value – known as R – was estimated to be between 0.6 and 0.9 in our region, which is lower than England’s which is 0.7 to 0.9.

It is the first time since May 2020 that the R rate has been as low as 0.6 anywhere.

The R rate means on average in the South West every ten people who have contracted the virus will only spread it to between 6 and nine people.

This latest R rate is less than last week when it was 0.7 to 0.9.

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Public Health England data shows the R rate and growth rate of each region
(Image: Public Health England)

Only the North East and Yorkshire have an R rate higher than England’s and above one of 0.7 to 1.0.

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

Meanwhile, the South West’s growth rate has fallen to -7 to -3, better than last week’s -5 to -3.

The estimated growth rate means the number of new infections is shrinking by between three per cent to seven per cent every day.

The Government’s estimates mean they are now confident the epidemic is shrinking across England, though it says it remains important that everyone continues to stay at home in order to keep the R value down, protect the NHS and help save lives.

These estimates are based on the latest data, available up to February 15, including hospitalisations and deaths as well as symptomatic testing and prevalence studies.

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