The UK’s coronavirus reproduction (R) number has remained steady for the past week and could still be as low as 0.6, according to the Government’s latest estimate.

The number of new infections is shrinking by up to six per cent every day as tough lockdown measures remain in place across the country.

The latest R estimate for the whole of the UK is between 0.6 and 0.9 – unchanged from last week – and the growth rate estimate for the UK is now between -6% and -2%.

An R value between 0.6 and 0.9 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between six and nine other people.

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The coronavirus reproduction (R) number in England

England’s R number is between 0.7 and 0.9

The epidemic is shrinking roughly as quickly as it was last week, when the rate was between -6% and -3%.

England’s R rate is 0.7 to 0.9 with a daily growth rate of -5% to -3%.

Here is the breakdown by region in England (R number followed by growth rate):

  • East: 0.6 to 0.8, -7% to -4%
  • London: 0.6 to 0.8, -8% to -5%
  • Midlands: 0.7 to 0.9, -6% to -3 %
  • North East and Yorkshire: 0.7 to 0.9, -5% to -2%
  • North West: 0.7 to 0.9, -6% to -2%
  • South East: 0.7 to 0.9, -5% to -2%
  • South West: 0.6 to 0.8, -7% to -4%

The daily number of new confirmed cases and deaths has been falling for weeks as lockdowns restrict people’s movements and contact with others.

The four nations are beginning to lift lockdown restrictions, with England set to reopen all schools on March 8 as part of its four-step exit strategy.

Meanwhile, people aged 40-49 will be prioritised next for a Covid-19 vaccine, with scientific advisers saying the move would “provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time”.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has considered whether groups such as teachers and police officers should be vaccinated next, but concluded that the most effective way to prevent death and hospital admission is to carry on prioritising people by age.

People queue for coronavirus tests in Bristol

People queue for coronavirus tests in Bristol (file photo)
(Image: PA)

It said modelling studies for phase 2 of the vaccination programme also indicate that the speed of vaccine deployment is the most important factor in helping prevent severe illness and death.

This means that in phase 2, priority will be given in the following order:

– All those aged 40-49

– All those aged 30-39

– All those aged 18-29

These groups will be vaccinated once all those in phase 1 (the over-50s and most vulnerable) have received a jab.



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