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UK COVID-19 reproduction rate rises to 0.7-1.0

LONDON: The reproduction rate of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom is now somewhere between 0.7 and 1.0, government scientific advisers said on Friday.

Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the rate was 0.5 to 0.9. The government has said it will keep a close eye on the so-called ‘R’ rate as it looks at how quickly to ease lockdown measures.

As the number is below one, the virus is not spreading exponentially, but the rise in the number means that infections are falling more slowly now.

Government scientific advisers said the outbreak was now concentrated in hospitals and care homes and the reproduction rate was subject to substantial regional variation.

Just 49 people were admitted to hospital for Covid-19 in London on Thursday.

Figures from the government published earlier on Friday showed the number of people who have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive was 33,998 by 1600 GMT on Thursday.

A total of 236,711 people had tested positive for the virus as of 0800 GMT on Friday, up by 3,560 on the previous day.

The R rate, a consensus view from scientists advising the government, is being estimated from working back from data on deaths and infections.

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