Official Covid R rate as high as 1.4 – as Delta variant cases treble

ENGLAND’S official R rate could be as high as 1.4 as cases of the Delta variant have trebled.

It comes after it was revealed that the June 21 unlocking could be pushed back amid fears that infections are spreading across the country.

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SWNS

More testing and extra vaccine capacity has been rolled out across the UK due to the spread of the Delta variant[/caption]

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed yesterday the Delta variant now makes up 91 per cent of all UK cases.

The government is monitoring if its spread leads to a further surge in hospitalisations and infections.

Last week the R rate was as high as 1.3 in the North West, where the variant has taken over.

This week Sage said that the rate in the North West could be as high as 1.5, the highest in the country.

The R rate reflects the spread of the virus and the last time the range was 1.2 to 1.4 was in October.

This was when tier restrictions had first been introduced in England after cases spiked.

Data from Public Health England shows that a cluster of cases have emerged in the North West, where over 2,000 people a day are now testing positive for Covid-19.

Further data today revealed that at least 42,000 cases in the UK have been caused by the Delta variant.

It means infections have risen by 243 per cent since Public Health England’s (PHE) last update a week ago.

It comes as:

 

But PHE claims the increase in the overall UK total – from 12,341 last week to 42,323 this week – is due to a change in test data.

It said the rise has been partly driven by a reduction in test turnaround times and a faster process for identifying cases of the variant.

Last week the R rate in England is was 1.0 to 1.2. according to Government advisers at Sage. The week before Sage said the value was 1.0 to 1.1.