The UK’s R number has dropped compared to last week’s figures and now stands at between 0.8 to 1, according to the Government's scientific advisors.
This means that, on average, every 10 people infected with Covid will infect between 8 and 10 other people.
The R number stands for the reproduction number, and indicates how quickly Covid is spreading. Last week, it was estimated that the R number was between 1.2 and 1.3.
The UK’s growth rate is now estimated to be between -4 per cent and -1 per cent, whereas last week this was at between +2 per cent and +5 per cent, and the week before this between 0 per cent and +6 per cent.
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“A growth rate of between -4 per cent and -1 per cent means that the number of new infections is shrinking by between 1 per cent and 4 per cent every day,” said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
What is the R number and growth rate around England?
These are the latest R number and growth rate (%) estimates for NHS England regions:
- East of England: 0.6 to 0.9 and -8 to -2
- London: 0.7 to 0.9 and -7 to -3
- Midlands: 0.9 to 1.2 and -2 to +2
- North East and Yorkshire: 0.8 to 1.1 and -3 to +1
- North West: 0.9 to 1.2 and -2 to +2
- South East: 0.7 to 1.0 and -6 to -2
- South West: 0.9 to 1.2 and -2 to +3
Are Covid infection rates levelling off across the UK?
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the percentage of people testing positive for Covid in England remained high, but decreased slightly in the week ending 16 January 2021.
The ONS estimated that during the week ending 16 January, around 1 in 55 people in England had the virus.
Elsewhere, rates in Scotland and Wales have levelled off, with one in 100 and one in 70 people being infected with coronavirus respectively, the ONS said.
However, infection rates in Northern Ireland were found to have instead risen, jumping from one in 200 in the previous survey to one in 60.