UK's coronavirus R number falls amid signs England's lockdown is working

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2 min read
People wearing protective face masks in Westminster, London, after a range of new restrictions to combat the rise in coronavirus cases came into place in England.
The UK's coronavirus R number has fallen to 1 - 1.1, new data shows. (PA)

The UK’s coronavirus R number has fallen to between 1 and 1.1, according to new government data, amid signs England’s lockdown is working.

The data, released on Friday, shows that on average every 10 people infected with the virus in the country will pass it on to another 10 or 11 people.

When R is above 1 COVID-19 is increasingly spreading, while a value below 1 shows the epidemic is in decline.

Last week, the R number was between 1 and 1.2.

The number of new infections – or growth rate – was also rising by 1% to 3% every day. This week, that rate is between 0% and 2%.

 A man using his phone at a Bus Stop in Cambridge Circus, where a Government Covid 19 level alert saying ‘’Stay Home” displays on an electronic screen. England has entered into the 2nd Lockdown due to the Pandemic. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
There are signs England's lockdown is driving down new infections. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
The latest figures show the regions with the highest R range are the East of England, South East and South West. (gov.uk)
The latest figures show the regions with the highest R range are the East of England, South East and South West. (gov.uk)

The government figures also show that the English regions with the highest are range – an upper rate of 1.3 – are the East of England, the South East and the South West.

All have a lower estimate of 1 at most, except the South East.

The North West, which saw areas including Greater Manchester and Liverpool placed into tougher local restrictions amid concern at their outbreaks, now has a lower estimate of 0.8.

“Promising signs” lockdown is working

Earlier on Friday, health secretary Matt Hancock said there are indications England’s lockdown, imposed on 5 November, is working.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There are promising signs that we have seen a flattening of the number of cases since lockdown was brought in and that is good news, though clearly there is further to go.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Health secretary Matt Hancock said COVID cases appear to be coming down. (PA)

“I’m calling it a flattening rather than a fall because one swallow doesn’t make a summer, but there are promising signs that lockdown is working to get the number of cases under control.”

English regions still see increasing cases

More data suggests the UK’s R number is round 1, with Wales and Scotland just below it.

England is at 1, the coronavirus study run by King’s College London through the Zoe app suggests.

It adds that the Midlands and East of England still have rates of 1 and 1.1 and are seeing increasing cases.

Infections are not declining in the South East, London or South West, where the R is 1, the researchers said.

Meanwhile, the North West, North East and Yorkshire have declining cases and R values of 0.9.

Watch: Exceptions to the lockdown