Covid R number inches up in London and across England as a whole

·2-min read
<p>Pedestrians cross Millennium Bridge in central London earlier this week </p> (Getty Images)

Pedestrians cross Millennium Bridge in central London earlier this week

(Getty Images)

The coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the R rate, has crept up slightly in London, new figures suggest.

The R rate in the capital was today said to be between 0.9 and 1.1. That is a slight rise on the previous week when it was estimated to be between 0.8-1.0.

It means the decline in infections across London may have flattened out and cases could even be rising slightly.

Across England, R number was also estimated to be 0.9-1.1, a marginal increase compared to the figure of 0.8-1.1 last week.

The R rate represents the extent to which the epidemic is growing or shrinking. The coronavirus infections growth rate in London and England as a whole is estimated to be between -2 per cent and +1 per cent.

Friday’s announcement from the health department and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) came as officials were investigating a new coronavirus variant which has infected a few dozen people in the Yorkshire region.

Greg Fell, director of public health in Sheffield, said his team had been monitoring the new strain - referred to as VUI-21MAY-01 or AV.1 - after Public Health England (PHE) announced 49 cases were identified, mostly in Yorkshire and the Humber region.

But Mr Fell stressed there is no evidence to suggest this strain is any more transmissible than other variants or that the vaccines do not work against it.

Mr Fell issued a statement as Downing Street also said the emergence of this new variant will continue to be monitored.

The Indian variant, which experts worry will be the dominant variant across the country, has continued to spread. Data published by PHE on Thursday showed there were 3,424 cases of the B1617.2 mutation, a rise of 2,111 on the previous week.

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