Coronavirus R rate range still as high as 1 across the UK

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 28: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (seen wearing a peacock feather patterned face mask) visits the recently reopened National Gallery to meet with staff involved in the organisation's Covid-19 response and reopening process on July 28, 2020 in London, England. The National Gallery, which was closed for 111 days due to the coronavirus pandemic, was the first major national art museum to reopen in the UK. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The UK's R rate range of coronavirus infection has remained at 1 (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The R rate range of coronavirus infection for the UK is between 0.8 and 1, latest figures show.

Data published on Friday by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has also revealed the growth rate of coronavirus transmission is between minus 4% and minus 1%, changing from between minus 5% and zero last week.

A growth rate between -4% to -1% means the number of new infections is shrinking by between 1% and 4% every day.

In England, the overall R rate range is between 0.8 and 1, but Sage has indicated it is not confident that R is currently below one in the country.

In the north west it is estimated to have risen above one.

The Gov.uk website said: “These estimates represent the transmission of COVID-19 from several weeks ago due to a time delay between someone being infected and needing healthcare.

R rate range for England as of 14 August (gov.uk)
R rate range for England as of 14 August (gov.uk)

“Estimates that use more timely data reflecting infections, suggest a higher R for England than shown here. As a result, Sage does not have confidence that R is currently below 1 in England.”

The government has used R (reproduction) as one means to assess whether the epidemic is in decline. An R rate above one means the virus is spreading exponentially, with each contagious person infecting more than one other person. It is also an indication that hospitals and healthcare systems are more vulnerable.

Last Friday, the R rate was also between 0.8-1.0 across England.

A sign is pictured at an almost empty street, following a local lockdown imposed amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Leicester, Britain, July 4, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff
Leicester and large parts of northern England remain in lockdown despite restrictions easing across the country (REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff)

Read more: what is the R rate?

The news comes as England prepares for a further relaxation of lockdown restrictions on Saturday.

From 15 August bowling alleys, ice skating rinks and casinos can reopen, and beauty salons and tattoo studios can offer additional treatments, while wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also now be allowed.

The move had originally been planned for 1 August but was delayed amid concerns over rising coronavirus infection rates.

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The changes do not apply to locations under local lockdown such as Leicester and Greater Manchester, where restrictions remain in place.

As of Friday more than 46,700 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, and there have been more than 314,000 confirmed cases.

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