THE coronavirus R number in the south east is estimated to be above 1.

The R rate - which refers to the number of people infected by each person with COVID-19 - needs to be below 1 in order for the number of cases to fall.

Figures published on Friday by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed the reproduction number, referred to as R, for the UK as a whole is between 0.8 to 1.

The data suggests the R number in our area - the south east - is between 0.8 and 1.

The SPI-M said: “We are starting to see early indications that these values may be increasing.

“This is not yet reflected in these estimates because the data used to calculate R and growth rate reflect the situation from a few weeks ago.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

A time delay between initial infection and the need for hospital care usually means it may take between two to three weeks for the changes in the spread of Covid-19 to be reflected in the estimates.

But models that use Covid-19 testing data, which have less of a time delay, indicate higher values for R in England, the Government Office for Science statement said.

It added: “For this reason, Sage does not have confidence that R is currently below one in England.

“We would expect to see this change in transmission reflected in the R and growth rate published over the next few weeks.”

However, the Government officials and advisers said is also important to recognise that these are estimates, and there is a high degree of uncertainty with them.

The growth rate reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day and, as the number of infections decreases, it is a way of keeping track of the virus.

If it is greater than zero, and therefore positive, then the disease will grow, and if the growth rate is less than zero, then the disease will shrink.

Meanwhile, statisticians at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge, which feeds information feeds directly to the SPI-M, said on Thursday the R value was now likely to be close to 1 in most regions.