South West coronavirus R rate rises to 1

Coronavirus deaths in care homes are falling.

Coronavirus deaths in care homes are falling. - Credit: PA

The South West is the only region in the UK with a predicted increase in coronavirus cases.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Cambridge has given the South West the highest R rate of 1 and it is the only area with a ‘doubling’ rather than ‘halving time’.

Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, shared the research on Twitter saying: “The South West stands out as the biggest cause for concern.”

A Public Health England (PHE) study has confirmed the increase in North Somerset cases is linked to the outbreak at Weston General Hospital, which closed its doors to new patients on Bank Holiday Monday.

The R value covers the South West from Gloucestershire to the Isles of Scilly, and North Somerset Council says it does not need to change its approach to tackle the virus, but will review this if necessary.

MORE: Weston General Hospital to reopen ‘as soon as possible’A spokesman for the authority said: “The council is continuing to work closely with health partners and our community in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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“The latest information issued by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Cambridge regarding the R value are within a number of studies reviewed by Government through its scientific advisory group for emergencies and these latest reports are in-line with scientific findings.

“We have just gone through a detailed study provided by PHE which provides assurance that the increase in local cases is linked to the outbreak at Weston Hospital which has boosted our numbers and we expect to find more cases as more cases are identified through heightened awareness of symptoms and the need to get a test, good local access to testing and new cases identified through the Test and Trace system.

MORE: Test and trace rolled out in Weston to determine cause of hospital outbreak“The R value of 1.0 covers the South West region from Gloucestershire to the Isles of Scilly and national guidance around how local authorities should interpret this information does not suggest we need to change our approach to tackle the spread of the virus.

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“However, we will continue to monitor local data sources and respond quickly to any changes as needed.

“We ask local residents to support our efforts to reduce the spread of the virus by taking key actions to support the Test and Trace service.

“If you experience symptoms, immediately self-isolate for seven days, and request testing online or by calling 119.”

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