COVID-19 epidemic in UK shrinking, R-rate estimated below 1

LONDON (Reuters) - The COVID-19 epidemic in Britain has retreated slightly, with the reproduction 'R' number estimated to be below 1, suggesting that England's second national lockdown is stemming infections, government scientists said on Friday. The number of new infections across Britain is shrinking by between 0% and 2% every day, the UK Government Office for Science said, after it was estimated to be growing between 0% and 2% in last week's release.

Reuters November 28, 2020 00:11:21 IST
COVID-19 epidemic in UK shrinking, R-rate estimated below 1

COVID19 epidemic in UK shrinking Rrate estimated below 1

LONDON (Reuters) - The COVID-19 epidemic in Britain has retreated slightly, with the reproduction "R" number estimated to be below 1, suggesting that England's second national lockdown is stemming infections, government scientists said on Friday.

The number of new infections across Britain is shrinking by between 0% and 2% every day, the UK Government Office for Science said, after it was estimated to be growing between 0% and 2% in last week's release.

The R number was estimated to be between 0.9 and 1, meaning every 10 people infected will go on to infect between 9 and 10 people, down from last week's range of 1.0-1.1.

Government scientists said the estimates were based on latest data for the United Kingdom up to Nov. 24, but that lags meant the impact of national restrictions introduced in England on Nov. 5 were only just being seen and could not yet be fully evaluated.

"R estimates for England may continue to decline in the future and may be below 1 for all regions already," the Government Office for Science said in a statement.

The lockdown in England - home to around 85% of the UK's total population - expires on Wednesday and will be replaced with a regional system of tiered restrictions.

SOME CHRISTMAS CHEER

A third of England is facing the strictest COVID curbs after the previous tier system - imposed before the lockdown - failed to keep infection rates down. That resulted in Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the latest England-wide lockdown on Oct. 31.

The stricter tier system comes ahead of a planned loosening of rules for Christmas, when three households will be able to come together indoors over a period of five days.

While the scientists' advice to relax rules for no longer than a week - and focus on limiting household bubbles and not just numbers of contacts - is being followed, a note from the government pandemic modelling subgroup SPI-M-O said the loosening of rules over the Christmas period still posed risks.

"Any relaxation over the festive period will result in increased transmission and increased prevalence, potentially by a large amount," it said in a final version of a note dated Nov. 18 and published on Friday.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Kate Holton, Stephen Addison and Gareth Jones)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.