THE coronavirus R rate is above the crucial value of 1 across the UK, the country’s top scientists say.
Four regions in England have seen a slight increase in the vital measure since last week – while every range is at or above 1.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
When the value is below one, it means transmission of the virus is no longer high.
But the reality is the true R rate probably lies somewhere between the upper and lower estimates.
Experts warn that as Covid cases are much lower than they were at the peak of the pandemic, the R rate is more sensitive to even small outbreaks.
The latest figures published today by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows that the rate has increased across the country as a whole.
Last week, the UK’s R rate was in a range between 0.8 to 1.0, but that’s now up to 0.9 to 1.1.
The North West, South West, London and South East have also seen slight increases in their R rates.
In the North West, where a number of places have been forced into tougher restrictions, the R value range has increased from 0.8 – 1.1 last week to 0.9 – 1.1 today.
London’s range went up from 0.8 – 1.0 last week to 0.9 – 1.1 today, while the South West also went above the crucial value and is now at 0.8 – 1.1.
The South East’s R rate range was just below 1 last week – at 0.8 – 0.9, but Sage say this has now nudged up to 0.8 – 1.0.
But Government advisers say that the latest ‘growth rate’ shows that the epidemic is somewhere between shrinking by three per cent and growing by one per cent every day.
This measurement reflects how quickly the number of infections are changing day-by-day.
It is an approximation of the change of number of infections each day, according to Government experts.
If the growth rate is greater than zero (positive), then the disease will grow, but less than zero then the disease will shrink.
But the experts say that the figures lag a few weeks behind the country’s current situation as it takes time to calculate the data.
Most read in Health News
A Sage spokesperson said: “We have been seeing indications that these values may be increasing, with estimated ranges increasing slightly from previous publications.
“Recent changes in transmission are not yet fully reflected in these estimates because the data used to calculate R and growth rate reflect the situation from a few weeks ago.
“It is also important to recognise that these are estimates, and there is a high degree of uncertainty with them. “