Slight changes in coronavirus transmission rates, figures show

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12:21pm, Fri 17 Jul 2020
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The growth rate of coronavirus transmission in the UK has grown slightly in the last week, new figures published by the Government show.

Data released on Friday revealed the growth rate is now at minus 5% to minus 1%, compared with a rate of minus 5% to minus 2% per day, last week.

The reproduction number, referred to as R, remains at 0.7 to 0.9 across the UK.

The figures are published by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

The growth rate reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day and, as the number of infections decreases, it is a way of keeping track of the virus.

If it is greater than zero, and therefore positive, then the disease will grow, and if the growth rate is less than zero, then the disease will shrink.

However, there is some regional variation between the figures.

In the East of England, the growth rate changed from minus 4% to plus 1%, to minus 4% to zero. The R number is 0.8-1.0.

The figures come as beauty salons, outdoor pools and other businesses were allowed to reopen to the public with a further relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

In London, the growth rate is between minus 3% and plus 2%, compared to between minus 5% and plus 1% last week.

The capital has an R value of 0.8-1.1.

The Midlands has a growth rate of minus 5% to minus 1% per day, compared to minus 6% to minus 2% last week. Its R value is 0.7-1.0.

In the North East and Yorkshire, the growth rate is unchanged at minus 5% to minus 1%. Its R number is 0.7-0.9.

The North West has a growth rate of minus 6% to minus 1%, a change from minus 5% to minus 1%, and an R value of 0.7-1.0.

The growth rate in the South East is unchanged at minus 4% to zero, with an R value of 0.8-1.0.

In the South West, the growth rate changed from between minus 6% and plus 1%, to between minus 6% and plus 2%.

The region also sees the R value creeping above one, with a range of 0.7-1.1.

Across England, the growth rate is between minus 4% and zero, compared with between minus 4% to minus 1% next week.

The R value across England is 0.8-1.0.

It represents the number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

It does not indicate how quickly an epidemic is changing and different diseases with the same R can result in epidemics that grow at very different speeds.

The Government Office for Science and Sage say that in some regions the low case numbers and/or a high degree of variability in transmission across the region means the estimates are insufficiently robust to inform policy decisions.

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