The reproduction (R) number of CCP virus in the UK has fallen below 1.0 for the first time since last July, and the infection rate in England continues to drop, according to official figures.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on Friday revised the UK’s R number to between 0.7 and 0.9, the same level in June and July.
It means on average every 10 people infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus will infect between 7 and 9 other people.
The last time the R number was below 1 was on July 31, 2020, when it was revised to between 0.8 and 0.9.
The revision “corresponds to a falling number of cases, as long as R stays below 1,” Professor Kevin McConway at The Open University said.
SAGE said the growth rate was between -5 percent and -2 percent, the same level as the week before.
“A growth rate of -2 [percent] means that the number of new infections tomorrow will be 2 [percent] less than the number today. If the decline continued at that rate for some time, the daily number of new infections would halve in around 5 weeks,” McConway said.
“If the growth rate is -5 [percent], and that continued, the daily number of new infections would halve in around 2 weeks.”
In a separate weekly report published on Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the infection rate continued to drop across the UK, with 1 in 80 (1.28 percent) of the population estimated to have the CCP virus in England in the week ending Feb. 6.
In the same week, 1 in 80 of the population in Wales, 1 in 75 in Northern Ireland, and 1 in 150 in Scotland were estimated to have the CCP virus.
The rate of CCP virus hospitalisation in England has decreased to 19 per 100,000 people in the week ending Feb. 7, almost half the rate seen in mid-January, the ONS said in another report.
McConway said the news is encouraging but the number is still quite high at the moment.
“In England, for instance, the rate in the most recent week is similar to what it was in early November, when the government had just found it necessary to impose a lockdown,” he said.