The national reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK has risen above 1 for the first time since March according to government advisors.

Data released this lunchtime by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shows the estimate for R across the UK is between 1.0 and 1.2.

In the south west the number is marginally lower at 0.9 to 1.2.

This time last week the R number for this region was estimated to be between 0.8 and 1.1 per cent, while the growth rate was put at between -4 per cent and +1 per cent.

This week's growth number in the south west is -1 to +4, showing that Sage believes the number of new infections could be shrinking by 1 per cent or rising by up to 4 per cent each day.

In the UK it is now set at -1 to +3 per cent.

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The estimated growth rate reflects how quickly the number of infections changes day by day, as way of keeping track of the virus.

If the growth rate is greater than zero then the epidemic is growing. If the growth rate is less than zero then the epidemic is shrinking.

The size of the growth rate indicates the speed of change.

The most likely value is towards the middle of the range, experts advising the government say.

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It comes as the number of newly diagnosed cases continues to rise nationally, with higher incidence seen in young people aged 18 to 24 years.

More information was given on this by chief medical officer Chris Whitty in Wednesday's press conference.

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According to Government advisors the last time R was above 1 was in early March, the Press Association has reported.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.

In England, R is between 1 and 1.2.

However, Sage has also said R and growth rates are not the only important measures of the epidemic and should be considered alongside other metrics.

These include the number of new cases of the disease identified during a specified time period (incidence), and the proportion of the population with the disease at a given point in time (prevalence).

Yesterday saw eight new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, bringing the total case number since the start of the pandemic to 1,022, while the case rate was 178.7 per 100,000 people.

Today's figures are due to be released later this afternoon.