The south west no longer has the highest R number in the country as the latest growth rate predicts cases to fall significantly.

Latest figures from the Government and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have estimated that the growth rate of the virus is now -6 to -2.

This means that it believes new cases of the virus will reduce by between two per cent and six per cent each day.

This marks a complete turnaround from the start of January, when the south west has the highest growth rate out of all regions of England and also in the UK overall.

On January 8 SAGE predicted new cases to grow between +2 per cent and +8 per cent every day.

It also marks an improvement on last week's figures of -4 to +1.

The south west R number – or rate of reproduction – is now 0.7 to 0.9, compared to 0.8 to 1.1 last week.

It means that SAGE now believes not everyone with the virus will go on to pass it someone else, with a person testing positive only going on to infect on average between 0.7 and 0.9 people.


Both the North East and Yorkshire, at 0.8 to 1.0, and North West at 0.7 to 1.0 now have higher R numbers.

The UK overall now has an R number of 0.7 and 1.0 and a growth rate of -5 and -2 per cent.

SAGE said: "The UK estimates of R and growth rate are averages over different epidemiological situations and should be regarded as a guide to the general trend rather than a description of the epidemic state. Given the increasingly localised approach to managing the epidemic, particularly between nations, UK level estimates are less meaningful than previously.

"These estimates represent the transmission of Covid-19 over the past few weeks due to the time delay between someone being infected, having symptoms, and needing healthcare."

These are the latest R and growth rate estimates by NHS England regions.

Region R Growth rate % per day

England 0.7 to 0.9 -5 to -2

East of England 0.7 to 0.9 -6 to -3

London 0.6 to 0.8 -8 to -4

Midlands 0.7 to 0.9 -6 to -2

North East and Yorkshire 0.8 to 1.0 -4 to 0

North West 0.7 to 1.0 -4 to -1

South East 0.6 to 0.9 -7 to -4

South West 0.7 to 0.9 -6 to -2