England's COVID-19 R number estimate inches up

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Public health signs are seen sprayed on a pavement, whilst the reproduction "R" number of COVID-19 infections in the United Kingdom has risen and may be above 1, London, Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - The estimated range for the COVID-19 reproduction "R" number in England has inched higher, Britain's health ministry said on Friday, and is estimated between 0.8 and 1.1.

An R value between 0.8 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 11 other people. It compares to an estimated range of 0.8 to 1.0 last week.

An R number above one indicates exponential growth of an epidemic, though government scientists say that the closely watched statistic means less when prevalence of infections is low, as it is currently in England.

The health ministry said the latest daily growth rate of COVID-19 infections was between -4% to -1%, compared to -5% to -1% last week.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Sarah Young)