Friday 10 July 2020 2:12 pm

R rate could be as high as 1 in London and England

England’s R rate could be as high as one, according to new government data published today.

The UK’s R rate is estimated at between 0.7 and 0.9 but England’s rate stands higher, between 0.8 and one, according to Sage.

The government’s group of science advisers estimated that London’s R rate is somewhere between 0.7 and one as England’s lockdown is eased.

The R rate is an estimate of the reproduction rate of coronavirus. If the R rate is below one then that means the virus’ spread is diminishing.

An R rate of one in England and London means every person with coronavirus will pass it to one other person.

The UK’s current coronavirus growth rate remains negative, between minus five per cent and minus two per cent as of today.

Last Friday the R rate for the UK was 0.7 to 0.9 with a growth rate of minus six to zero per cent.

In England, the latest growth rate of coronavirus stands at minus four per cent to minus one per cent. This means coronavirus is still shrinking.

But it is now estimated to be shrinking more slowly than before.

Today’s R rate statistics for England are the first since pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafes were allowed to reopen on 4 July.

The Midlands has England’s lowest R number estimate, between 0.7 and 0.9, slowing at a pace of minus six and minus two per cent.

But the east of England, the north east and Yorkshire, north west and south east could all have an R rate as high as one.

Sage’s R rate findings come with a statement explaining: “When there is a significant amount of variability across a region, for example due to a local outbreak, then a single average value doesn’t accurately reflect the geographic distribution of infections.”

The government has been easing England’s coronavirus lockdown over the last few weeks, and yesterday revealed a date for theatres to reopen.

Retailers have reopened after a three-month lockdown, opening their doors again from 15 June.

And restaurants and pubs reopened last weekend.

Earlier this week chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government would pay half the bill on diners’ meals out throughout August to encourage people to return to restaurants and cafes.

More to follow.