Covid 'R rate' falls further below 1.0 as virus spread slows

Stay Home Save Lives advert at an Ipswich bus stop. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The coronavirus R rate has fallen - but there are still warnings about the spread of the illness - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The reinfection rate for coronavirus - known as the 'R number' - has fallen again in East Anglia, showing that the spread of the disease is slowing in the region.

The R rate is the number of others that one infected person will pass the disease onto.

If it is below 1, it means the spread of the illness is slowing.

However, any value above 1 is a cause for concern, because those who are infected are passing it on to more people - who in turn are also infecting others.

It is not possible to be precise about the figure, because it changes depending on people's behaviour or because the level of immunity they have alters.

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But at the moment, England as a whole has an R rate of 0.6 to 0.9 - which means that every 10 people infected will pass it on to between 6 and 9 other people.

The R rate in the East of England is 0.6 to 0.8. It was previously between 0.7 and 0.9.

Coronavirus infection rates have generally been falling across Suffolk in recent weeks - a sign that the national lockdown and the Covid vaccine roll-out have had an impact.

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However, recent statistics showed a slight rise in the number of cases in Ipswich.

In the seven days up until February 26, the infection rate in the town was 91.3 cases per 100,000 people.

In the seven days before February 19, the rate was 82.5 cases per 100,000 people in Ipswich.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said those figures should act as a "bit of a wake up call". 

"We should not assume it is going to keep going down," he said.

"We need to play our part."

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