Coronavirus Reproduction Rate In England Surges Past One As People Fear Second Wave

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Sir Patrick Vallance, attend a news conference on the novel coronavirus, in London, Britain March 3, 2020. Frank Augstein/Pool via REUTERS

The coronavirus R rate has crept back up in England, rising above the crucial threshold of one in London, new figures show.

Boris Johnson
Across the UK the Covid reproduction rate has remained stable since last week at 0.7 to 0.9. It comes just over two weeks since the latest easing of lockdown restrictions, when non-essential shops reopened their doors, more people went back to work and schools started to welcome kids back into the classroom.

And it’s just a matter of hours before the next stage of the nation’s economy begins to reopen, with pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and other longed-for services due to open up tomorrow.

A wounded member of a far-right group is escorted by British police officers in riot gear, during scuffles as police tries to contain a protest at Trafalgar Square in central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020.

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Last week, England’s R rate stood at 0.7 to 0.9. But new data, published today by the Government, shows that has risen slightly to 0.8 to 0.9. The reality is the true R rate probably lies somewhere between the upper and lower estimates.

A Government spokesman said: “It is important to recognise that the most likely estimates are somewhere toward the middle of these ranges.” The R rate gives an indication of whether or not the Covid-19 outbreak is growing. Above one, and it’s a sign the epidemic is spreading, while below one indicates an outbreak in decline.

Meanwhile, the rate of spread of the coronavirus infection across the UK – the growth rate – has moved from -4 per cent to -2 per cent per day to a wider range of -6 per cent to 0 per cent.

London was hit hardest by the epidemic, seeing the highest infection and death rates at the start of the outbreak.

But, given the capital was two to three weeks ahead of the rest of the nation, the first green shoots of hope were evident in its boroughs, with rates tailing off first.

The new figures, showing a slight uptick in the R rate, might suggest the rest of the nation is set to follow suit.

As well as London, the R rate in the Midlands, South East, South West and Yorkshire and the North East, has also risen.

In the capital, which was hardest hit in the early stages of the pandemic, the R rate has risen from 0.7 to 0.9 to 0.8 to 1.1.

In the Midlands it’s gone up from 0.7 to 0.9 to 0.8 to 1.0. The results from the Midlands come just days after one of the regions biggest cities was forced into a localised lockdown.Photo Credit: Getty

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