Alarming new figures show the R rate range has risen above 1 in London – meaning cases of the deadly virus could be growing again.
It comes just hours before lockdown restrictions are eased in England, with pubs allowed to open again from 6am.
In four other regions – the Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire, the South East and the South West – experts believe the R rate could also be as high as 1.
Across the UK, the government says the estimated Covid-19 reproduction number is between 0.7 and 0.9.
If the R rate goes above 1, the number of infections is on the rise.
In the capital, the range is now believed to be between 0.8 and 1.1.
The R values and growth rate for the following regions are:
- East of England: 0.7-0.9, minus 5% to 0%
- London: 0.8-1.1, minus 4% to plus 2%
- Midlands: 0.8-1, with an unchanged growth rate of minus 4% to 0%.
- North East and Yorkshire: 0.8-1, minus 5% to 0%
- North West: 0.7-0.9, minus 4% to 0%
- South East: 0.7 to 1, minus 5% to 0%
- South West: 0.7 to 1, minus 7% to plus 2%.
The figures were published by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on Friday.
It stated that the regional fluctuations were “not considered to be significant due to the small size of the changes”.
It added: “The most likely explanation for these changes is the uncertainty created when estimating these values based on increasingly smaller numbers of cases.”
We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.