The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has announced the R rate has dropped from 1.1 and 1.3 last week. Any number above 1 means the virus is spread across the country. The latest figure therefore gives hope the UK is turning the corner on tackling the second wave of the virus.
However, SAGE warned that even though the R has dropped in some areas, case numbers are still “very high” in those places.
A statement said: “Sage is confident that the epidemic has continued to grow in England over recent weeks.
“Although there is some evidence that the rate of growth in some parts of the country may be slowing, levels of disease are very high in these areas; significant levels of healthcare demand and mortality will persist until R is reduced to and remains well below one for an extended period of time.”
The R number is currently lowest in the North West of England.
The number is between 0.9 and 1.1, followed by the North East and London, which are both in line with the national figure of between 1.0 and 1.2.
The South West, South East and East of England have the highest R numbers, with a maximum of 1.4.
This comes after daily confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 46 percent to 33,470 yesterday.
A further 563 people had also died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus as of Thursday.
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This works out to the equivalent of around 1.20 percent of the population.
The figures represent a jump from 618,700 people, or 1.13 percent of the population, who were estimated to have the virus during the period October 25 to 31.
The ONS added that while the infection rate has increased in recent weeks, “the rate of increase is slower than previous weeks”.
Infection rates in Wales and Scotland have also increased, the rates in Northern Ireland have “now appear to have levelled off”, according to the ONS survey.
In Northern Ireland around 1 in 105 people have coronavirus in the community, compared to 1 in 85 in Wales and 1 in 135 in Scotland.
Downing Street also said today that a pilot project to test selected visitors to care homes for coronavirus will begin on Monday.
The system will be trialled in 30 homes and aims to help family and friends meet their loved ones indoors.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Our priority is protecting care home staff and residents but we do know just how important it is to let residents safely meet their loved ones.
“From Monday we are launching testing pilots across 30 care homes. That will be using various PCR tests and the new lateral flow tests to allow specific families and friends to undertake indoor visits to residents.”