England’s R Rate has dropped slightly after pub gardens and non-essential shops opened on Monday.
The crucial number now stands at between 0.7 and 1, according to the latest Government figures. It was last reported to be between 0.8 and 1 on April 9.
R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.
When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.
An R number between 0.7 and 1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 7 and 10 other people.
People have been celebrating a return to the pub this week, with punters expected to drink five million pints and 500,000 bottles of wine tonight alone.
Thousands of shoppers have also flocked to high streets, offering hope the economy will bounce back from months of harsh restrictions.
The new R Number comes as health officials reveal they have found a coronavirus variant from India with ‘concerning’ mutations in the UK.
Scientists have described the variant as a ‘double mutant’ as it carries two different mutations – E484Q and L452R.
There have been 77 confirmed cases of the B.1.617 strain discovered across the nation — 73 in England and four in Scotland.
More than half a million people living in Lambeth, Wandsworth, Southwark and Barnet have been offered Covid tests after dozens of cases of the South African variant were also discovered.
Experts have warned areas could face local lockdowns if surge testing fails to curb the spread of dangerous variants.
Meanwhile, another scientist has suggested entire streets could be locked down to stop asymptomatic infections spiralling out of control.
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