UK: Covid cases increasing, official R rate rises as Christmas nears

As infections continue to increase, the UK’s coronavirus R-rate could rise as high as 1.2.

This comes at a time when ministers and experts warn that a new Covid variant, which has been discovered in five countries, could be found in the UK.

The R rate has gone up this week after holding steady at 0.8 to 1.0

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After remaining steady at 0.8 to 1.0, the R-rate has increased this week

One in 65 Brits may have the bug now, with infection rates still high in school-age children.

The current R-rate is between 1.0 to 1.1. It could go as high as 1.2 for London and South East.

This is an increase from 0.8 to 1.0, which it had maintained steady at since November 12th.

London and South East have the highest rates at between 0.9 & 1.2. However, the East of England and the Midlands are all between 0.9 – 1.1.

The North West is home to the lowest R-rate, which ranges from 0.8 to 1.

This is consistent with data provided by the Office for National Statistics, which indicates that there has been a decrease in the number people in North West England who have tested positive for the bug.

In the week up to November 12, it’s estimated that 824,900 people had tested positive with the bug – this week this has gone up to 862,300 people.

Sarah Crofts, Head Analytical Outputs at the Covid-19 Infection Survey, stated today that the UK picture is mixed. Recent increases in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and uncertain trends in England and Wales have all contributed to recent rises.  

She said: “The uncertain picture across England is as a result of different trends in different parts of the country and among people in different age groups.

“School-age children have the highest infection rates, despite a declining trend in secondary school age students over the past few weeks.  

“It is too early to say whether increases seen in Northern Ireland and Scotland will continue.”

Experts warn that infections are increasing in the UK and Brits may be subject to another lockdown if a new variant is discovered.

STRAINWORRIES

The variant, scientifically called B.1.1.529, has not yet been confirmed in the UK as of yet, but has already made its way to Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, South Africa and Botswana.

It is the most evolved so far with 32 mutations, and could be worse than Delta, experts have warned.

Its power has sparked a sudden ban on flights from six nations to the UK.

Professor Adam Finn is a member on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. He said that there are still many things to learn about the new variant.

Professor Finn said: “On the one hand, I don’t want to induce unnecessary anxiety in people, but on the other hand, I think we all need to be ready for the possibility of a change in the restrictions.”

He stated that it was difficult to know if the new variant would have an impact on Christmas plans for Brits.

Prof Finn suggested that South Africa’s surge in cases could be due to the variant’s transmissibility.

“We now need to wait and see just what kind of threat this new variant may pose.

“If we’re lucky, it won’t be a serious one, but it could be very serious”, he added.

A spokesperson for No10 said that there was “nothing in our current data to suggest that we need to move to Plan B”.

UK Covid cases are at their highest within a month, and the top 10 MILLION. As 47.240 more people test positive, and an additional 147 die

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