Official UK Covid R rate drops to between 0.8 and 1, new data reveals

22 January 2021, 14:51 | Updated: 22 January 2021, 15:02

The R rate has fallen since last week
The R rate has fallen since last week. Picture: PA
Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

Latest data indicates that the R rate is dropping, but experts have urged people not to let down their guard.

The latest UK coronavirus R number has fallen sharply since last week, with figures from SAGE suggesting it's between 0.8 and 1.

Read more: Brits 'banned from Spain until end of summer' unless most of the country are vaccinated

Scientists advising the government have said that all regions in England have seen a decline in the R number and growth rate, meaning that the current lockdown seems to be helping to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The last time the R number was below 1 in the UK was December 11 2020.

The R rate (or 'reproduction' rate) refers to the average amount of people someone who has coronavirus will go on to pass the disease onto, and last week it was between 1.2 and 1.3 for the UK as a whole.

The fall in R rate indicates that the lockdown is helping to slow the spread of coronavirus
The fall in R rate indicates that the lockdown is helping to slow the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA

The number of new infections is also estimated to be shrinking by between 1% and 4% every day, while last week it was rising by between 2% and 5%.

The government has urged people to remain vigilant, however, as cases of coronavirus remain high.

A Department of Health spokesperson said, according to The Sun: "Cases remain dangerously high and we must remain vigilant to keep this virus under control, to protect the NHS and save lives.

Read more: UK weather: Snow to cover Britain this weekend as freezing temperatures plunge to -10C

"It is essential that everyone continues to stay at home, whether they have had the vaccine or not.

"We all need to play our part, and if everyone continues to follow the rules, we can expect to drive down the R number across the country."

The UK R rate has fallen
The UK R rate has fallen. Picture: PA

It is thought that around one in 55 people in private households in England had the virus between 10 and 16 January, which was down from one in 50 between 27 December and 2 January.


Education Secretary refuses to confirm when schools will reopen in heated Good Morning Britain debate