England’s R number has risen slightly to between 0.8 and 1, suggesting the pandemic is still continuing to shrink but at a slower rate, latest figures have shown.
Last week, the figure was estimated to be between 0.7 and 1 by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
The daily growth rate of COVID-19 infections is also estimated at between -5% and -1%, compared to -6% and -1% the previous week.
R represents the average number of people a person with the virus goes on to infect. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially – but it is shrinking if it is below 1.
On average, that currently means that for every 10 people infected with the virus, they will infect between eight and 10 other people.
The data comes amid concerns over the emergence of a "double mutant" variant of coronavirus first identified in India.
A total of 55 cases have been reported in the UK and another 70 cases of the South African variant have also been discovered.
The four UK nations have been gradually easing their lockdowns as cases continue to fall but health experts have repeatedly warned the public to continue to use the hands, face, space rules.
Surge testing has taken place in parts of the Midlands and London after the new variants were detected.