COVID-19: England’s R number rises slightly to between 0.8 and 1.1

England’s R number has risen slightly to between 0.8 and 1.1, the latest government figures show.

Last week, the R value – or reproduction number – was between 0.8 and 1.0.

The R number indicates the average number of people each COVID-positive person goes on to infect.

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An R value between 0.8 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people with the virus will go on to infect between eight and 11 other people.

The R number has grown in every region of England since last week’s figures, apart from London which has remained the same.

The latest figures also show England’s COVID daily growth rate at -3% to +1%. It had previously been at -3% to -1%.

Most regions have seen an increased growth rate, but the North West remains the same while the South East and South West have decreased.

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections has increased to around one in 85 people – about 658,800 people – in private households in England for the week ending 25 September, the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data found.

These are the estimated R numbers and growth rates (in italics) for each English region, with last week’s figures in brackets:

East of England: 0.8 to 1.1, -3 to +1% (0.8 to 1.0, -3 to 0)

London: 0.8 to 1.0, -3 to +1% (0.8 to 1.0, -3 to -1)

Midlands: 0.8 to 1.1, -3 to +2% (0.8 to 1.0, -3 to 0)

North East and Yorkshire: 0.8 to 1.1, -2 to +2% (0.8 to 1.0, -2 to +1)

North West: 0.8 to 1.1, -2 to +1% (0.8 to 1.0, -2 to +1)

South East: 0.8 to 1.1, -4 to +1% (0.7 to 0.9, -4 to -1)

South West: 0.8 to 1.1, -3 to +1% (0.7 to 0.9, -5 to -1)

Children have led the surge in infections, with one in 20 young people at secondary school in England testing positive last week, a month after schools reopened. It is the highest positivity rate for any age group.

The rate of children testing positive is estimated to have increased among those aged from two to school year 11 (15-16 year olds), and there were also early signs of a possible increase for those aged 70 and over, the ONS said.

In Wales, around one in 55 people is estimated to have had COVID in the same week – up from one in 60 the previous week and the highest week since the seven days to 23 December 2020.

Northern Ireland saw one in 65 people infected that week, down from one in 60 the week before.

For Scotland, the ONS estimates around one in 55 people had COVID that week, down from one in 45 the previous week, which had been the highest level since estimates began for Scotland in October 2020.

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