UK coronavirus R number between 0.6 and 0.9 in slight increase on week before


The coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, across the UK is between 0.6 and 0.9, according to the latest Government figures.

Last week the reproduction number in the country was between 0.6 and 0.8 – down from 0.7 to 0.9 the previous week.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.

An R number between 0.6 and 0.9 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between six and nine other people.

The latest growth rate is between minus 6% and minus 3%, which means the number of new infections is shrinking by between 3% and 6% every day.

An intensive care unit in Southampton

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The latest figures released yesterday showed a further 6,303 people tested positive for the virus – down slightly from the 6,753 last Thursday and much lower than the 12,057 a month ago.

The number of lives lost to Covid-19 rose by 95 on Thursday to 125,926.

Latest R number by NHS Region England on Friday March 19
Latest R number by NHS Region England on Friday March 19

Latest figures published show in the past week 758 Covid deaths have been recorded across the UK – a 34 per cent drop compared to the previous seven days.

Updated figures will be released on Friday afternoon.

It comes amid news the AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines are more effective against the Brazil variant than previously feared.

A vaccination centre in the North East

A study by Oxford University found that the AstraZeneca jab, which it helped develop, and the Pfizer shot work just as well on the Brazilian P.1 strain as against the Kent variant.

The vaccines in use in the UK are already effective against the country’s dominant Kent strain, cutting deaths and hospital admissions by more than 85%.

In the latest study Oxford experts compared blood samples from vaccinated people with samples from previously infected individuals.

They found that the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines had a three-fold reduction in antibody effectiveness against the Brazil and Kent strains when compared with the original coronavirus.

Meanwhile the South African variant saw a greater drop in vaccine effectiveness – seven-fold for the Oxford jab and nine-fold for Pfizer’s, Mail Online reports.

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