Coronavirus: R rate range rises above 1 in parts of the country, government confirms

Commuters wear facemasks as they travel on the London Underground in London on June 12, 2020 as lockdown measures are eased during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The estimated coronavirus "R number" range has risen above one in parts of England, the government has confirmed.

The overall R rate across the UK remains between 0.7 and 0.9, while across England it is 0.8-1.0, according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

However, regional values for R across England, which have been published for the first time, show that the South West has an R rate of between 0.8-1.1.

An R number of above 1 means the Covid-19 outbreak is growing in that area.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on Friday after the data had been released, transport secretary Grant Shapps sought to allay concerns about the R value in the South West.

He said a high and a low estimate, based on a number of modelling approaches taken by Sage, meant "it so happens that one of them says it could be between 0.9 and 1.1". He described it as an "outlier" of the central estimate.

Asked about the possibility of a regional lockdown if one area continues to increase, he told the briefing: "I wouldn't want to rule anything out."

NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis added: "R is of course a very important way of looking at this but there are other things that we look at."

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Coronavirus impacts Britain
People walk past closed shops in Leicester, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Protective screens dividing tables at a Wetherspoons pub The Mossy Well in Muswell Hill, London, ahead of pubs reopening on July 4, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
A protective shield for customers surrounds the card payment machine at the bar of a Wetherspoons pub The Mossy Well in Muswell Hill, London, ahead of pubs reopening on July 4, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
A member of the army collects a test at a coronavirus testing station set up in Victoria Park in Leicester, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
People arrive at a walk in coronavirus testing station set up in Spinney Hill park in Leicester, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
A Caffe Ritazza in Waterloo Station, London as SSP, the company behind railway station and airport chains, is reportedly planning to make more than half of its UK workforce redundant.
A passenger waits at a bus stop with a sign advising travellers to wear a face covering whilst travelling, in London, Friday, June 5, 2020. It will become compulsory to wear face coverings whilst using public transport in England from Monday June 15. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park which will be incinerated on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England. In a television appearance on Sunday, British Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the government was considering a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases in the city. The city's mayor has said that Pubs and restaurants in Leicester may stay closed for two more weeks due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A pedestrian passes a mural thanking key workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic in the centre of Leicester, central England, on June 29, 2020. - The central English city of Leicester could be the country's first to face a local lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases, the UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel said on June 28. The Midlands city recorded 658 new cases in the two weeks up to June 16, many linked to fresh outbreaks at food production plants. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A woman wearing a PPE mask walks past social distance advisory singns in Leicester's North Evington neighbourhood on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England. In a television appearance on Sunday, British Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the government was considering a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases in the city. The city's mayor has said that Pubs and restaurants in Leicester may stay closed for two more weeks due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past a stencilled message reminding people to practice social distancing as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 in the centre of Leicester, central England, on June 29, 2020. - The central English city of Leicester could be the country's first to face a local lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases, the UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel said on June 28. The Midlands city recorded 658 new cases in the two weeks up to June 16, many linked to fresh outbreaks at food production plants. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
A Coronavirus testing station has been set up in Victoria Park Leicester
A member of staff at the Apple store in Edinburgh's Princes Street takes the temperature of a customer before entering as non-essential stores across the country reopen today as part of Scotland's phased plan to ease out of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Members of the public in Leicester City Centre as speculation grows about a localised lockdown in Leicester a localised lockdown in Leicester
John Turner, landlord of The Dolphin pub in Llanymynech, where the border for England and Wales runs along the A483. Drinking establishments on one side of the A road such as The Cross Keys and The Bradford Arms will welcome customers on Saturday 4th July, however The Dolphin, a pub yards inside the Welsh border remains closed.
Social distancing signage at a store in Llanymynech, where the border for England and Wales runs along the A483. Drinking establishments on one side of the A road such as The Cross Keys and The Bradford Arms will welcome customers on Saturday 4th July, however The Dolphin, a pub yards inside the Welsh border remains closed.
A person in their car looks on as they make their way through the lion reserve at Blair Drummond Safari Park, near Stirling, which reopens today as part of Scotland's phased plan to ease out of the coronavirus lockdown.
Labour Leader Keir Starmer joins in a games lesson during a visit to Torriano School in Camden, north London, where he saw the work teachers are doing to keep children educated during lockdown.
Zoo keepers feed the penguins as members of the public visit Edinburgh Zoo, which reopens today as part of Scotland's phased plan to ease out of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Pride in London show parade highlights on the Picadilly screen at Picadilly Circus on June 27, 2020 in London, England. In line with government guideline, the annual Pride parade had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Pride in London)
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View of No.1 Court at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in west London on June 27, 2020 the weekend before the Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament were due to start on June 29. - There was none of the usual bustle of preparations the Saturday before the top tennis stars would normally decend on Wimbledon for The Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The Championships, which were due to start on June 29, have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Bob MARTIN / AELTC / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by BOB MARTIN/AELTC/AFP via Getty Images)
Businesses are opening in the area of Brick Lane, east London as the British Government has eased the lockdown measures, due to the coronavirus outbreak, London on June 27, 2020. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Coronavirus: UK towns and cities warn of potential bankruptcy due to pandemic
Rubbish that has been collected by locals at Tynemouth beach in north east England, after a busy day there yesterday. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a face mask walks amid shoppers on Oxford Street in heatwave conditions in London, England, on June 25, 2020. Temperatures rose to 33C in parts of London today, in what has been one of the UK's hottest days of the year so far. Central London was nonetheless busy with shoppers this afternoon as the retail sector mounts its comeback after coronavirus lockdown restrictions on non-essential shops were eased at the beginning of last week. Among retailers, confidence is reportedly low that recovery will be swift, however, with a survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today revealing fears of reduced consumer demand as well as operational challenges such as staff absences and transport difficulties. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A man wearing a face mask stands on Oxford Street in heatwave conditions in London, England, on June 25, 2020. Temperatures rose to 33C in parts of London today, in what has been one of the UK's hottest days of the year so far. Central London was nonetheless busy with shoppers this afternoon as the retail sector mounts its comeback after coronavirus lockdown restrictions on non-essential shops were eased at the beginning of last week. Among retailers, confidence is reportedly low that recovery will be swift, however, with a survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today revealing fears of reduced consumer demand as well as operational challenges such as staff absences and transport difficulties. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: People with face masks sit on the sea wall at the beach on June 25, 2020 in Southend-on-Sea, England. The UK is experiencing a summer heatwave, with temperatures in many parts of the country expected to rise above 30C and weather warnings in place for thunderstorms at the end of the week. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
A hand-made sign alongside the A82 road in Glencoe, Highlands, as Scotland moves into the second phase of its four-step plan to ease out of lockdown.
Hand-made signs warning people to consider the local community alongside the road in Ballachulish in the Highlands as Scotland moves into the second phase of its four-step plan to ease out of lockdown.
Operations supervisor Dave Warren sprays social distance measure signs on the ground in the new World of Dinosaurs attraction explaining social distancing measures at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling where staff are preparing to open the attraction on June 29 as part of Scotland's phased release of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Operations supervisor Dave Warren cleans hand rails at the sea lion pool explaining social distancing measures at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling where staff are preparing to open the attraction on June 29 as part of Scotland's phased release of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Operations supervisor Dave Warren installs signs in the rhino yard explaining social distancing measures at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling where staff are preparing to open the attraction on June 29 as part of Scotland's phased release of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
A coronavirus prevention sign in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, as Thursday could be the UK's hottest day of the year with scorching temperatures forecast to rise even further.
A woman wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), of a face mask or covering as a precautionary measure against spreading COVID-19, arrives on the beach in the sea in Southend on Sea, south east England, on June 24, 2020. - Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home in the cool Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celcius. Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
PORTHCAWL, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: An aerial drone camera view of Sandy Bay beach and Coney Beach pleasure park which remains closed due to coronavirus restrictions as the Met Office warn temperatures could reach 34 degrees this week on June 24, 2020 in Porthcawl, United Kingdom. The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has announced that all non-essential shops will be allowed to open their doors again in Wales from Monday but people will be asked to continue to "stay local" with five miles given as guidance until July 6. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
An employee at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire paints social distancing markers in the shape of a paw print outside the Amur Tigers enclosure, as the zoo prepares to reopen to the public from Monday June 29, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Crowds of people gather in Woolton Village, Liverpool and drink alcohol served from local food outlets as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England.
People enjoying the weather on the beach in Bournemouth as cruise liner docked in the background following the Coronavirus outbreak.
AFC Bournemouth substitutes stand for a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the coronavirus before the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth.
General view of empty walkway towards the Amex Stadium ahead of the game against Arsenal during the Premier League match back following the Coronavirus outbreak.
Players and officials stand for a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the coronavirus before the Premier League match at the London Stadium.
Steven Butterly from Azurablu Scotland Ltd during an electrostatic disinfection clean which follows a deep clean at Ross Sales and Lettings in Glasgow. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A customer enters a branch of Greggs in Winchester, Hampshire, as the bakery chain reopens 800 stores across the UK following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Primark staff in the Belfast city centre store as it opens its doors to customers for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. (Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)
A customer queues outside Primark in Belfast as some non-essential shops in Northern Ireland open their doors to customers for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. (Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Enda Stevens of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Sheffield United at Villa Park on June 17, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
A general view shows jockeys returning from the unplaced finishers on day two of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London, on June 17, 2020, which is taking place behind 'closed doors' due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALAN CROWHURST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign reminding people that the Toilets are hangs at the Kenilworth Castle fence during its reopening. Six sites managed by the English Heritage have reopened to the public this week after closing amid the coronavirus outbreak. Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardens in Warwickshire are some of the six sites that have adopted a one way system around the whole site, with separate entrance and exit points, along with social distancing markers. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Frankie Dettori is seen in the Queen's silks ahead of the Hampton Court Stakes on day two of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London, on June 17, 2020, which is taking place behind 'closed doors' due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Edward Whitaker / POOL / AFP) (Photo by EDWARD WHITAKER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Stewards at a gate entering Villa Park in Birmingham as Aston Villa prepare play Sheffield United in the first Premier League match back following the Coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Lee McIntyre of Jam vinyl records and coffee shop poses for the photographer on June 17, 2020 in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The British government have relaxed coronavirus lockdown laws significantly from Monday June 15, allowing zoos, safari parks and non-essential shops to open to visitors. Places of worship will allow individual prayers and protective facemasks become mandatory on public transport. (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Maddy Amos of the Falmouth Bookseller poses for the photographer on June 17, 2020 in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The British government have relaxed coronavirus lockdown laws significantly from Monday June 15, allowing zoos, safari parks and non-essential shops to open to visitors. Places of worship will allow individual prayers and protective facemasks become mandatory on public transport. (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)
In the 24hrs that a further 38 died from Coronavirus, bringing the total to 41,736, a further easing of the UKs Covid pandemic lockdown restrictions took place with many high street shops today being allowed to re-open after three months of forced closure. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wanting to stimulate the economy, has urged people to "shop with confidence" and long queues formed outside the main brands. But unlike on public transport, face coverings are not compulsory so shop floors and shopping practices have had to be adapted to ensure customers social distances, amid fears of a second infection wave. A social distance sign advising on the 2 metre rule outside the John Lewis department store on Oxford Street, on 15th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
EASTLEIGH, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/15: An employee at Top Gift Mobile stall wears a face shield and mask as preventive measure while working. (Photo by Dawn Fletcher-Park/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
In the 24hrs that a further 38 died from Coronavirus, bringing the total to 41,736, a further easing of the UKs Covid pandemic lockdown restrictions took place with many high street shops today being allowed to re-open after three months of forced closure. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wanting to stimulate the economy, has urged people to "shop with confidence" and long queues formed outside the main brands. But unlike on public transport, face coverings are not compulsory so shop floors and shopping practices have had to be adapted to ensure customers social distances, amid fears of a second infection wave. A security lady with blue gloves stands at an exit-only door and shows shoppers where to queue 2 metres apart outside Selfridges on Oxford Street, on 15th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
In the 24hrs that a further 38 died from Coronavirus, bringing the total to 41,736, a further easing of the UKs Covid pandemic lockdown restrictions took place with many high street shops today being allowed to re-open after three months of forced closure. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wanting to stimulate the economy, has urged people to "shop with confidence" and long queues formed outside the main brands. But unlike on public transport, face coverings are not compulsory so shop floors and shopping practices have had to be adapted to ensure customers social distances, amid fears of a second infection wave. Apple employees wait for shoppers in a queue in Hannover Street to have their forehead temperatures taken with a Thermo Flash infrared no-contact thermometer before being allowed into the Apple Store around the corner in Regent Street, on 15th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Hundreds of shoppers stand in line ahead of the store opening at Primark in Birmingham as non-essential shops in England open their doors to customers for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUN 14, 2020 - Coronavirus: social distancing signs in Wood Green, non essential shops are allowed to open from tomorrow 15th June- PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Indoor Stall Holders prepare to open their shops for tomorrow, at Camden Market on June 14, 2020 in London, UK .As the British government further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures in England, this week sees preparations being made to open non-essential stores and Transport for London handing out face masks to commuters. International travelers arriving in the UK will face a 14-day quarantine period. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Social Distancing Signs on the Cobbles of Camden Market on June 14, 2020 in London, UK .As the British government further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures in England, this week sees preparations being made to open non-essential stores and Transport for London handing out face masks to commuters. International travelers arriving in the UK will face a 14-day quarantine period. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Two mourners pay their respects on June 14, 2020 in London, England. Official memorials for the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people, were held online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. An ongoing public inquiry into the disaster criticised the London Fire Brigade for its "stay put" strategy, in which emergency personnel told residents to stay in their flats for nearly two hours after the fire began. (Photo by Anselm Ebulue/Getty Images)
A member of Black Lives Matter movement, wearing a protective mask against the spread of coronavirus, waits at Hyde Park in London, print to a rally, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 13: Sisters Rosie, Grace and Alex McQueen along with their parents and dog Molly watch Grease on the big screen in the Titanic Quarter from their classic camper van on June 13, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The drive-in cinema is the first of its kind taking place in the UK as some of the restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic are relaxed. Drive-In Cinema Belfast who organised the event will donate all the profits towards Covid-19 research at Queens University, Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/13: Shoppers use the provided hand washing facility at the entrance of Greenwich market. The government advised that non-essential shops which have been shut since March, could reopen so long as they can apply social distancing rules and follow other measures. (Photo by David Mbiyu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/13: People shopping at Greenwich market. The government advised that non-essential shops which have been shut since March, could reopen so long as they can apply social distancing rules and follow other measures. (Photo by David Mbiyu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 13: Movie goers watch Grease on the big screen in the Titanic Quarter beneath the famous Harland and Wolff cranes on June 13, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The drive-in cinema is the first of its kind taking place in the UK as some of the restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic are relaxed. Drive-In Cinema Belfast who organised the event will donate all the profits towards Covid-19 research at Queens University, Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Members of the Welsh Guards perform in front of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle in Windsor, southeast England on June 13, 2020, as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 94th birthday this year. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists chant as the face police officers on Parliament Street, as far-right linked groups gather around London's statues on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
With the UK's Coronavirus pandemic lockdown easing with preparations going ahead for the opening of more public transport and services plus shops, another 151 have died from Covid-19 bringing the total in the last 24hrs to 41,279. Social distance guides ensure passengers climb the steps into Waterloo Station on the right-hand side, and descend on the opposite left side while Britons are being asked to wear face coverings and to stay apart which is in line with government requirements for all users of public trransport starting next Monday (15th June), on 11th June 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
In this Tuesday, June 9, 2020 photo, Nurse Lucy Wraith, left, wearing PPE, personal protective equipment ties a surgical mask around Chloe Allison as they test the measures taken by the practice to receive suspected coronavirus patients at Freshney Green Primary Care Centre, in Grimsby, northeast England. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo via AP)
A woman walks past a shop window in the Victoria Square shopping centre, Belfast, after all shopping centres and retailers were given the green light to reopen in a significant relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)
A solo cyclist rides through a deserted Camden High Street during the 12th week of the lockdown. The government announced on Tuesday that non-essential shops, which have been shut since March, can reopen on Monday, so long as they can apply social distancing rules. (Photo by David Mbiyu / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
File photo dated 22/4/2020, the day when PA asked its photographers to take one picture at NOON to show the impact of coronavirus on the UK and Ireland. It shows Liverpool waterfront practically deserted as shops and business remain closed and the population in lockdown in the continuing fight against the coronavirus.
File photo dated 08/06/20 of passengers Guy arriving at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London. Travel and hospitality firms campaigning against the UK's quarantine policy say they have received "private assurances" that air bridges will be introduced by the end of the month.
The name of Genevieve Burnett is added by family members to a memorial Wall with the words "We Grieve" where the names of local people who have died from COVID-19 and other non-coronavirus related causes like terminal illness during the Coronavirus outbreak are written on hoarding around Liberty Hall on Clapton Common, London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
BARNSTAPLE, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Detailed view of a handwashing station as Preparations are made at Exmoor Zoo ahead of the Relaxing of Covid-19 Restrictions on June 11, 2020 in Barnstaple, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Calum Best (left) and Tamer Hassan pose for photographs as boxes of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are unloaded from a plane at Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. ??30,000 worth of PPE has been donated to the Mask Our Heroes charity, which was set up by entrepreneur Matthew McGahan in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak to help supply frontline NHS and health workers with the protective equipment they need. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Grass roots soccer referees form a guard of honour and clap for the hearse carrying Jermaine Wright, a referee of the Hackney Marshes grassroots football league who died of COVID-19 in London, Thursday, June 11, 2020. The deadly coronavirus has killed thousands of people in Britain, but each death is not just a number, and is deeply personal for each family, group of colleagues and friends.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Cleaners spray a peroxide based disinfectant on handrails and surfaces as a protective measure against the spread of Covid-19 inside the currently closed North Terminal at Gatwick Airport on June 9, 2020 in London, England. Gatwick Airport has introduced a range of protective measures to battle the spread of COVID-19 as the airport prepares to increase operating hours from June 15, 2020, and to resume operations at the North Terminal with a range of airlines. The airport’s North Terminal closed in March due to the impact that coronavirus outbreak had on the number of flights able to operate. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Social distancing measures and reminders are seen inside the Intu shopping centre on June 09, 2020 in Milton Keynes, England. As the British government further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures in England, this week sees preparations being made to open non-essential stores and Transport for London handing out face masks to commuters. International travelers arriving in the UK will face a 14-day quarantine period. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 09: Preparatory work is carried out at the Wagon and Horses in readiness for the reopening of pubs, on June 09, 2020 in Brighton, United Kingdom. As the British government further relaxes Covid-19 lockdown measures in England, this week sees preparations being made to open non-essential stores and Transport for London handing out face masks to commuters. International travelers arriving in the UK will face a 14-day quarantine period. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Dentist Dr Salisha Amin prepares for an aerosol generating procedure (AGP) wearing full PPE at Woodford Dental Care in north London as the practice opens up for the first time since the UK went into coronavirus lockdown.
A woman walks past a Wedding dress shop in London, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, where bride dresses pile unused in the shop window. Weddings in the UK have been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are probably allowed starting in July. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A London Underground worker, right, hands over a free face mask, gloves and hand sanitizer to a passenger at London's Baker Street station, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Wearing a face mask will become compulsory on the London TFL public transport service starting from June 15, 2020, as a safety measure to contrast the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A mother walks past a covered bar with a 'Thank you NHS' painting on it in London, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has prompted a public display of appreciation for National Health Service (NHS) health service workers, as the government eases of the COVID-19 lockdown. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A dental nurse sanitises instruments after a patient is treated at Woodford Dental Care in north London as the practice opens up for the first time since the UK went into coronavirus lockdown.
London Underground personnel distributes free face masks to passengers at London's Baker Street station, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Wearing a face mask will become compulsory on the London TFL public transport service starting from June 15, 2020, as a safety measure to contrast the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A passenger sleeps in the arrivals lounge at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, as new quarantine measures for international arrivals come into force. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Passengers arrive at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, as new quarantine measures for international arrivals come into force. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
People wearing face masks stand beside shuttered stores on Kilburn High Road in London, England, on June 7, 2020. Covid-19 deaths across the UK now stand at 40,542 according to the daily tally from the Department of Health and Social Care, including an additional 77 deaths added today. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/07: Protesters wearing face masks as a precaution against covid 19 during the demonstration. The death of George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police has sparked protests across the United States, as well as demonstrations of solidarity around the world. (Photo by David Mbiyu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Demonstrators hold placards as they attend a protest march in Manchester, northern England, on June 7, 2020, organised to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis. - Taking a knee, banging drums and ignoring social distancing measures, outraged protesters from Sydney to London on Saturday kicked off a weekend of global rallies against racism and police brutality. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Protestors, some wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), including a face mask as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, scuffle with Police officers in riot gear near Downing Street, in central London on June 6, 2020, during a demonstration organised to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis. - The United States braced Friday for massive weekend protests against racism and police brutality, as outrage soared over the latest law enforcement abuses against demonstrators that were caught on camera. With protests over last week's police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, surging into a second weekend, President Donald Trump sparked fresh controversy by saying it was a "great day" for Floyd. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Protestors gather at the Black Lives Matter Demonstration in Parliament Square, central London, Crowds gather during a Black Lives Matter protest at Parliament Square, London. The death of George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police has sparked protests across the world - June 06, 2020 (Photo by Robin Pope/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06: Laura Marling performs her new album "Song For Our Daughter" in an empty Union Chapel on June 06, 2020 in London, England. The gig was streamed live to ticket buyers across Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns)
A sign advises travellers to wear face coverings at Westminster Station in London, Friday, June 5, 2020. It will become compulsory to wear face coverings whilst using public transport in England from Monday June 15. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A woman wears a mask as she passes Westminster Station in London, Friday, June 5, 2020. It will become compulsory to wear face coverings whilst using public transport in England from Monday June 15. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
People walk past graffiti painted on a wall in in Glasgow City Centre, Scotland on June 6, 2020, as lockdown measures are eased during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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But he said the ONS surveillance study showed a "steady reduction" in the number of infections in the community.

"And really that evidence also suggests the R value is below 1 because it is only when the R value is below 1 that we would see that decrease in infections," he added.

Prof Matt Keeling, professor of populations and disease at the University of Warwick, said it was difficult to compare regions because they overlapped, meaning it is difficult to say that any one region is worse than any other region.

"All the ranges are closer to the critical threshold of R=1 than we would ideally like to see – which means that the epidemic is declining relatively slowly.

"This also means we haven't got much wiggle room for additional relaxation of social distancing measures."

The news comes as ONS figures found the outbreak is continuing to decline in England, while non-essential businesses are also due to reopen on Monday.

Chief scientific adviser to the government Sir Patrick Vallance said on Wednesday that changes to anti-coronavirus measures would have to happen "slowly" and their impacts measured.

"The epidemic is shrinking, but not fast. Numbers are coming down but are not yet very low," he said at the Downing Street press briefing on Wednesday.

The South West of England has the highest R range, from 0.8 – 1.1, and the East of England is the lowest, ranging from 0.7 – 0.9.

London, the Midlands, the North West and the South East all have R between 0.8 and 1, while Yorkshire and the North East have a value of 0.7 – 1.

Much of the focus during lockdown was about keeping R down below 1, which means the outbreak would be in retreat in the UK.

Prof Keeling said R warned become less useful as the outbreak declines and added: "There is still some uncertainty in these values, which are influenced by the three interacting outbreaks in hospitals, in care homes and in the community.

"Having input from multiple groups using a variety of methods and data streams helps to overcome these issues.

"As the number of cases becomes smaller in many regions, these predictions will become more uncertain and more biased by small localised outbreaks.

"These are not a measure of risk, they are about the decline of the epidemic.

"To understand risk you need to look at both the incidence of infection and individual behaviour."

-This article first appeared on Yahoo

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