The latest R number for the south west has been published and shows a slight decrease on last week - with the overall UK growth rate predicting that the number of new infections is shrinking.

In the official updated data on the government website today it states that the current rate of reproduction - known as the R number - in the south west is now at between 0.8 and 1.0.

It means that for every one person with the infection a further 0.8 to 1.0 people are likely to go on to be infected. Last week the range was 0.8 to 1.1.

Due to be shown as a range, the most likely true values are somewhere towards the middle of this range the government has said.

Nationally the UK's R number range remains unchanged, remaining at 0.8 to 1.0 also.

However, as in previous weeks, SAGE (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) which advises the government has said it is not confident that the R number remains below 1.0 in real terms.

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What the latest figures also show is a predicted growth rate of between -4 per cent to -1 per cent, meaning the number of new infections is shrinking by between 1 per cent and 4 per cent every day.

The growth rate reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, as a way of keeping track of the virus. Last week it was between -5 per cent and 0 per cent.

The government website states: "The UK estimates of R and growth rate are averages over very different epidemiological situations and should be regarded as a guide to the general trend rather than a description of the epidemic state."

The figures also come with a caveat, stating: "These estimates represent the transmission of Covid-19 from several weeks ago due to a time delay between someone being infected and needing healthcare.

"Estimates that use more timely data reflecting infections, suggest a higher R for England than shown here.

"As a result, SAGE does not have confidence that R is currently below 1 in England."

Region R Growth rate % per day

England 0.8-1.0 -4 to 0

East of England 0.8-1.0 -5 to -1

London* 0.8-1.0 -4 to 0

Midlands* 0.8-1.0 -5 to -1

North East and Yorkshire* 0.8-1.0 -4 to 0

North West 0.8-1.1 -3 to +1

South East 0.8-0.9 -5 to -1

South West* 0.8-1.0 -5 to +1

*Low case numbers and/ or a high degree of variability in transmission across the region means these estimates are insufficiently robust to inform policy decisions.