Speaking at a press conference from Downing Street today, Boris Johnson revealed the next steps in the Government’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions and return to “normality”. The Prime Minister also revealed fresh powers will be given to councils to shut down shops and events to help prevent local lockdowns, according to the Local Government Association.
Mr Johnson said local authorities would be given stronger controls in time for the weekend.
James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents council leaders, said he was hopeful the new measures would prevent local lockdowns, like that seen in Leicester, being required in the future.
Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, the Prime Minister said: “From tomorrow, local authorities will have new powers in their areas.
“They will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events.
Coronavirus: The R-rate is at 1 across much of England
“These powers will enable local authorities to act more quickly in response to outbreaks where speed is paramount.”
However, new data has shown the R-rate has increased and could stand at 1.0 across almost every area of England.
The R-rate is the rate of infection, so if the R-rate is at three, one infected person could pass the virus on to three more people.
New figures published by the Government show the growth rate now stands at minus five percent to minus one percent.
This is compared with last week’s data showing a rate of minus five percent to minus two percent.
Across the UK the R-rate is recorded as being between 0.7 and 0.9, however in England could be significantly higher.
Government data shows that in England, the R-rate could be as high as 1.0 in every region apart from in the North East and Yorkshire.
In the North East and Yorkshire the R-rate has stayed steady at 0.9.
This comes as measures across the UK have been eased, albeit at different rates across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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However, Dr Daniel Lawson, a statistician at the University of Bristol, said: “These data allow us to be cautiously optimistic.
“There is no indication that the epidemic has gotten out of hand as a result of the easements.
“However we must stay completely vigilant because there is a delay of at least two weeks before an increase in the reproductive rate of the virus is visible in the data.”
Reported by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), the growth rate indicates how quickly the number of infections are changing each day.
R-rates across England
- East of England – The growth rate changed from minus four percent to plus one percent last week, to minus four percent to zero.
The R number in the East of England stands at 0.8-1.0. The total number of cases in the East of England stands at 23,983.
- London – The growth rate is between minus three percent and plus two percent. compared to between minus 5 percent and plus 1 percent last week.
The R-rate in London is at 0.8-1.1. The total number of cases in London stands at 34,397.
- The Midlands – Last week the growth rate figure was at minus six percent to minus two percent. Now it sits at a rate of minus five percent to minus one percent.
The R-rate for The Midlands is 0.7-1.0. The total number of cases in The Midlands stands at 48,422.
- North East and Yorkshire – The only area to not sit at 1.0, the growth rate has not changed sitting at minus five percent to minus one percent.
The R number for the North East and Yorkshire is 0.7-0.9. The total number of cases in the North East and Yorkshire is 45,667.
- North West – Last week the North West had a growth rate of minus five percent to minus one percent.
This has changed to be minus six percent to minus one percent this week.
The North West has an R-rate of 0.7-1.0. The total number of cases in the North West is 43,907.
- South East – The South East’s growth rate remains unchanged at minus four percent to zero.
The South East has an R value of 0.8-1.0. The total number of cases in the South East is 34,498.
- South West – Across the South West, the growth rate has changed from minus 6 percent and plus one percent, to between minus six percent and plus two percent.
The South West has seen the R-rate increase above one, with the figures showing 0.7-1.1. The total number of cases in the South West is 12,913.
For the whole of England, the growth rate lies between minus four percent and zero.
This is in comparison to between minus four percent to minus one percent last week. The R value across England sits at 0.8-1.0.