Published On: Fri, May 15th, 2020

Coronavirus risks surge in UK again as critical ‘R’ rate now back into dangerous territory | UK | News

Deputy Chief Medical Director Dr Jenny Harries explained the latest Government coronavirus data during the Friday briefing with Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The senior official warned the country’s rate of infection – known as the ‘R’ rate – is between 0.7 and 1.0. Just last week the Government said the R value was between 0.5 and 0.9.

The R rate represents the average number of people likely to be infected by someone with a virus.

Therefore, an R rate of less than one means the virus is shrinking. A value of 1 means the number of people infected with COVID-19 will remain the same.

Speaking at this afternoon’s briefing, Ms Harries said: “We want to keep this below one and as you can see R is the average number of additional people infected.

“While it is one, a pandemic will stay flat in this country.

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“If it goes above that number, we will start to see an increasing number of cases and we may experience a second peak.

“So it is really important we keep monitoring it.”

The rise in the rate comes just days after Boris Johnson announced the easing of some lockdown measures.

There is a 2-3 week delay in the producing the latest R number, meaning the rise announced today is not due to the relaxation of social distancing measures.

At its peak, the R rate in the UK was as high as 3.

During the coronavirus briefing, Mr Hancock also made a desperate plea for Britons to be alert and make good decisions over the coming days of good weather. 

While he admitted the Government is cautiously relaxing measures, he said it was important that these relaxed rules are not abused and social distancing ignored.

He said: “This weekend, with the good weather and the new rules, I hope people can enjoy being outside.

“But please stick with the rules, keep an eye on your family and don’t take risks.”

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