This figure refers to the average number of people a coronavirus sufferer infects and if it rises above one it means the disease is spreading. Asked about the data at the most recent Government briefing, the Health and Social Care Secretary said the Government was looking to take a more localised approach to prevent further outbreaks. Mr Hancock said: “It is very important that you look at all of these different studies in the round.
“The study you mentioned is an important one but the overall assessment which is brought together by SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) which advises the Chief Medical Officer is what I look at.
“So we referred to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) study that is based on data rather than modelling but what I do is look at all of these different studies and the overall view of SAGE is that the R is between 0.7 and 0.9 and that it is higher in the South West of England and the North West of England but it remains below one in each area.”
But he added: “Now, that doesn’t take away from the need to make sure that we spot and crackdown on localised outbreaks when they come.”
In the most recent update, the Government confirmed that there had been a further 357 coronavirus deaths in Britain.
Matt Hancock has raised the prospect of localised lockdowns
Stephen Powis said the Government would do well to limit deaths to 20,000
Of these deaths, 343 came in England.
This means the British death toll has hit 40,261.
A leading Cambridge statistician who was not involved in the latest modeling told Mail Online that the findings on the R number were the “opposite of reassuring”.
They added: “No wonder members of SAGE are worried.”
A Manchester nurse takes a swab test
The Public Health England and Cambridge team based their modeling of death data from NHS England and regional health officials, antibody surveillance sampling and mobility reports.
However recently released ONS figures based on swabs from around 20,000 people suggest the outbreak in England has shrunk by around a half in the last week.
According to the most recent update, the southwest has had 7,809 cases.
The northwest has had 26,054.
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London is the only English region with a higher number of cases.
At a briefing at the end of March, NHS medical director Stephen Powis said: “If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.=
“If it is less than 20,000, that would be a good result though every death is a tragedy, but we should not be complacent about that.”
The latest UK coronavirus statistics
The Government has announced all hospital staff and visitors will be made to wear face coverings.#
Mr Hancock said further guidance is expected by June 15.
Despite the lockdown beginning to be gradually eased, an ONS study found only 40 percent of adults in employment left the house to go to work in the last week.
Heathrow is one of 13 UK airports classed as high risk by the EU
Data from the previous week suggested the figure was slightly lower at 36 percent.
Meanwhile, an EU aviation report has placed 13 UK airports on a list of high-risk transport hubs.
They are Birmingham, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London City, Luton, Manchester Airport. Newcastle International and Stansted.