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Another UK lockdown is being considered in the wake of Christmas according to Downing Street. More than 68 percent of the English population will be in the toughest coronavirus Tier 3 from Saturday at 12.01am. The SAGE group of Government advisers has said the UK’s estimated R rate has risen from 1.1 to 1.2. Express.co.uk explains what the R rate is and how it is calculated.
The R rate in the UK is estimated to have climbed to between 1.1 and 1.2, according to the SAGE group of Government advisers.
The number of Covid-19 infections has risen to an estimated 660,000 infections across the UK between December 6 and 12.
The sharp rise in cases was driven by increases across London, the South East and East Midlands.
Roughly one in every 95 people had the virus across Britain last week.
Weekly coronavirus cases have grown by a fifth in one week.
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A third national lockdown in England has been raised as a possibility in the wake of the easing of Christmas lockdown restrictions.
More than 38 million people in England will go into Tier 3 on Saturday with even tougher restrictions possible later this year.
Wales announced a third national lockdown earlier this week beginning on December 28.
Northern Ireland will impose a six-week lockdown starting on Boxing Day, despite allowing Christmas bubbles to continue until December 28.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told reporters “nobody wants a third lockdown”, but added the tiered system is not working.
He said: “Whether the Prime Minister rules [national lockdown] out or not is not the central question.
“I think the central question, Prime Minister, is what are you doing now to prevent the chances of a third lockdown?”
What is the R rate?
The R rate or R number is a way of rating coronavirus or any disease’s ability to spread.
R refers to the number of people who can be infected from one person on average.
Health officials have said an R rate above one increases the risk exponentially because the number of cases will continue to rise exponentially.
If the R number is lower the disease will eventually stop spreading, because not enough new people are being infected to sustain the outbreak.
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As of Friday, December 18, the latest R number range for the UK is between 1.1 and 1.2.
This means for every 10 people infected, a further 11 or 12 people will be infected.
The latest growth rate for the UK is between one and four percent per day.
The growth rate figure means the number of new infections grow by between one and four percent every day.
The latest R rate and growth rates across regions in England are as follows:
- England: R rate – 1.1 to 1.3 and growth rate: two to four percent per day
- East of England: R rate – 1.2 to 1.4 and growth rate: four to six percent per day
- London: R rate – 1.1 to 1.3 and growth rate: three to six percent per day
- Midlands: R rate – 1.0 to 1.2 and growth rate: one to three percent per day
- North East and Yorkshire: R rate – 0.9 to 1.1 and growth rate: -1 to one percent per day
- North West: R rate – 0.9 to 1.1 and growth rate: zero to two percent per day
- South East: R rate – 1.1 to 1.3 and growth rate: three to five percent per day
- South West: R rate – 0.9 to 1.2 and growth rate: zero to three percent per day.
How is the R rate calculated?
The R rate is calculated using the information on the time taken between each generation of infections.
This measures how long it takes for one set of people in an infected group to infect a new set of people in the next group.
Several data sets are taken into account when calculating the R rate including the number of people dying, hospital admissions and positive test results which are all used to estimate how easily the virus is spreading.
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