THE RATE of transmission of the coronavirus across the UK has fallen below 1 for the first time since July, new figures reveal.
The UK Government pubished the latest statistics this afternoon, showing that the estimated reproduction, or R rate, of the virus is now between 0.7 and 0.9.
It means that for every one person infected with Covid-19, they will pass it on to between 0.7 and 0.9 people. It is essential to keep the rate below 1 to control the outbreak.
In a sign that lockdown restrictions are having an impact and the epidemic is shrinking, scientists advising the Government gave their most optimistic outlook for the R number since cases fell last summer.
On February 9, the latest date for which figures are available, the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK stood at 25,621.
This is down 35% from a peak of 39,236 on January 18, and is the lowest number since December 29.
But while scientists believe cases of Covid-19 are dropping at a decent pace, they have warned the Prime Minister that numbers are still too high to ease up on the current lockdown restrictions.
Boris Johnson is facing increased calls from within his own party to relax the rules once the NHS is no longer under the same levels of pressure.
Alongside the R rate data, the UK Government’ s department of Health said there is evidence to suggest that the so-called ‘Kent variant’ of the virus, classed as the B117 variant, may be “growing faster than the other coronavirus variant circulating in the UK” however it would take more time to understand its impact on the R rate.