LONDON (Reuters) – The reproduction number of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom remains between 0.7 and 0.9, government scientists said on Friday, but has increased in parts of England after lockdown restrictions were eased.
Although the R number for the UK as a whole reflects the same rate of transmission as given last week, in England alone it is slightly higher – estimated to be between 0.7 and 1.
That could mean headaches ahead for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he bids to re-open the economy in phases while avoiding a second peak of infections in what is already one of the world’s hardest-hit countries.
Lockdown in England has been eased more quickly than Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, where powers over measures are devolved.
“Our estimates show that the regional R numbers have increased although they remain below 1 for most of England – this is to be expected as we gradually move out of lockdown,” said Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director of the Public Health England…
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