LE coronavirus R remains below 1 across the UK – but “overwhelmingly susceptible to infections,” warned the top government scientist.
Sir Patrick Vallance said the value has now dropped in all parts of the country and is between 0.7 and 0.9.
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But he warned that about six to seven percent of the population would be infected with Covid-19 – which means “a large majority of the population remains susceptible.”
Referring to data from the National Statistics Office, he said that 53,000 people would be infected between May 17 and May 30.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, he said, “The R is less than one, but may be just below one.
“The epidemic is receding, but not quickly. The numbers are decreasing but are not yet very low.
“The vast majority of the population remains susceptible to the infection.
“It urges caution, urges you to go slowly with the changes and asks to measure very carefully to see the impact and to be ready to reverse things where action has been taken that impacts that, and mostly means looking for epidemics locally and dealing with them quickly. ”
The R number is the average number of people who will get an infected person’s coronavirus.
If R is equal to or greater than one, the virus will spread exponentially across the population.
The researchers warned that the vital number was greater than one in the north-west of England and firmly to 1 in the south-west last week.
But earlier this week, Secretary of Health Matt Hancock told ministers that the value of R had dropped – and that the virus was “receding”.
This comes as Boris Johnson announced that couples separated by lockout restrictions could be reunited and some grandparents will be able to kiss their grandchildren starting on Saturday.
The latest initiative to help block coronaviruses in England will allow adults living alone or single parents to form a “support bubble” with another household.
They would then be allowed to mix as if they were one household, spending time together indoors, not having to follow the two-meter rule and allowed to stay overnight.
Ministers believe the latest easing of the lock will help those who have remained isolated while limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
This decision could allow children from single-parent households to see a group of grandparents.
A grandparent living alone would be allowed to visit the home of their child and grandchildren.
But the move would not allow a couple to visit both parents because neither of the two households would include a single adult.
Officials acknowledged that the measure was not going to benefit everyone but targeted those who had been isolated by the lockout restrictions.
During the Downing Street briefing, the Prime Minister said, “We are making this change to support those who are particularly lonely because of the lockdowns.”
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“It is a targeted intervention to limit the most harmful effects of current social restrictions.
“It is absolutely not designed for people who are not qualified to start meeting inside the homes of others, as this is against the law. ”
Meanwhile, the number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK has exceeded 52,000, according to the analysis of the latest available data.