The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have warned that the R number has risen in London, the Midlands, the Northeast, Yorkshire, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The R number is the number of people one person with which coronavirus can affect. There has been an increase from last week’s, between 0.8 to 0.9 which is no between 0.8 to 1.0, SAGE warned.
The government scientific advisors cannot be confident the R number is now below 1 in England. However, despite the increase in more people testing positive for the virus across England and Wales, coronavirus has started to level off, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
During the week of 27 July to 2 August, the ONS found that around 28,300 people in England were infected, which equates to one in 1,900 individuals or 0.005% of the population.
It has been further warned that once schools return in September the coronavirus transmission rate “will go up.”
The former government advisor Professor Neil Furguson warned this week, that once schools return in September the coronavirus transmission rate “will go up.”
He said, the government must “plan for all contingencies” as they prepare to reopen schools.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “The risk then is that big schools, comprehensives, universities, FE colleges, link lots of households together, reconnect the social network which social distancing measures have deliberately disconnected.
“And that poses a real risk of amplification of transmission, of case numbers going up quite sharply.”
He added, “In terms of the reproduction value, the ‘R’ value, opening high schools could increase it by as much as a half, but by as little as 0.2 or 0.3, but it will go up.
“Given we’re at ‘R’ equal to one at the moment, clearly we don’t want ‘R’ going up to 1.5 or so, that would… lead to quite rapid growth of the epidemic.”
He added: “Whether, in high schools, FE colleges, it is necessary for children to go back 100% or whether we can have other alternative means of provision, children being in one week and out the other week, therefore reducing contacts in school and outside school, or whether we row back on the relaxation of restrictions in the rest of society to allow schools to be fully opened, for instance social venues, leisure venues, more working from home – those things.
“I mean that really is a policy decision, but I’m just saying, in my view, it is likely that some form of those measures will be necessary to maintain control of transmission.”