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Coronavirus 'R number' infection rate for across England revealed

The crucial coronavirus infection rate in Kent has fallen since lockdown was eased, new figures show.

The government is tracking the 'R number' across the country to see how more freedom effects the spread of the virus.

The coronavirus infection rate sits at 0.84 in Kent. Stock picture
The coronavirus infection rate sits at 0.84 in Kent. Stock picture

The figure relates directly to how many people someone with Covid-19 is likely to spread the virus to – below 1 and the spread slowly decreases, above and it increases.

In the south east, including Kent, the figure was a worrying 0.97 last month, the third highest in the country, although that figure has since been revised down to 0.94.

As of June 29 the figure was 0.84, meaning it has fallen by 0.1 in a month when restrictions have been eased and groups of up to six were allowed to meet up outside.

The region has the same rate as the south west but is behind the north west (0.88) and the Midlands (0.99) - the latter encompassing Leicester where the lockdown has been extended.

In Kent at least 933 people have now died in hospital from the virus while the official number of infections is more than 6,400. However, the total death toll in all settings stood at almost 1,500.

It comes as pubs and restaurants prepare to reopen this weekend and just days after thousands flocked to the county's coastline.

But throughout, the public have been warned to maintain social distancing rules and that if the infection rate begins to exceed 1 lockdown measures will be put back in place.

According to the data released by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge, the median R number for the south east dropped to its lowest point (0.64) on April 1, a week in to lockdown.

Since then it has steadily increased and stood at just shy of 1 at the end of April before dropping to 0.75 at the start of June.

Before lockdown it was 2.48, meaning everyone with Covid-19 spread it to an average of 2.48 people.

The current research technique would not paint an accurate picture for more localised results but they plan to provide that over the coming weeks.

The figures also give the most accurate picture yet on how many more people are getting the virus and what the future may hold.

It estimates that across England there are 3,000 new infections each day, down from 17,000 a month ago, but that deaths each day are likely to fall to between 35 and 70 by mid-July.

This morning we report how east Kent hospitals trust reported the most deaths in the country last week, recording one in every nine fatalities.

Meanwhile, the only parts of Kent where infections rose over three weeks were Medway and Thanet, from six to 17 and three to 14 a week respectively.

This sparked rumours of a local lockdown like the one in Leicester but Medway's public health boss was quick to downplay those suggestions.

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