Chilling coronavirus chart shows UK hotspots with infection rates WORSE than North-West

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A coronavirus lockdown imposed across the North-West of England has been described as “absolutely necessary” by Health Secretary Matt Hancock. However, new data shows the R-number – which estimate the number of people an infected person spreads the virus to – is even higher in other parts of the country. A Sky News chart revealed that the North-West and the South-West of England are only two regions in the country with an upper R rate range of 1.1

However, research from Cambridge University showed that the upper range of the R-rate in the South West could even be as high as 1.38 – higher than anywhere else in the country.

Sky News reporter Ashish Joshi explained: “The easing of lockdown measures has led to a rise in coronavirus infections. The virus has only been suppressed and not eliminated.

“SAGE has said it doesn’t not have confidence that the R-number is below the crucial number of one in England.

“The latest estimate puts the R-number – which estimates the average number of people an infected person passes the virus onto – between 0.8 and 0.9.”

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He then showed a regional breakdown of the R-number, revealing that the East of England, London, and the South-East had all reached an R-number of one.

Both the North-West and South-West had surpassed this, reaching an alarming reproduction rate of 1.1

Joshi continued: “In the North-West, where new restrictions have been imposed, the reproduction has risen from 0.7 to 1 last week to 0.8 to 1.1 this week.

“As soon as people are allowed to move and mix, even with social distancing, there is an uptick in infections.

“The beginning of the upward curve we are seeing the data right now is the most worrying. If that continues, it means more deaths and more transmission.

“Drastic action has to be taken, as has been done in the North-West. And it won’t be the last time individual places will be targeted to stop the spread.”

Under the new restrictions, millions of people in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are now banned from meeting other households indoors.

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This comes after the UK saw its highest daily total of COVID-19 cases for more than a month on Thursday, according to Department of Health figures.

Scientists from the MRC Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge University have warned that it is “very likely” that most regions in England are close to the point at which the virus begins to spread exponentially.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned: “Clearly we now face, I’m afraid, the threat of a second wave in other parts of Europe and we just have to be vigilant.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said the figures showed a “second wave starting to roll across Europe”.

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