Virus rate for England low, says UK govt

Paul Sandle
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has visited a lab facility dedicated to the testing for COVID-19

The UK government believes it's making progress in controlling the spread of coronavirus in England, with the reproduction rate falling to below one.

The reproduction or "R" number represents the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to.

It's been one of the key measures used around the world in deciding when lockdown measures can be eased.

An R number above 1 can lead very rapidly to exponential growth.

England now has a rate of between 0.8 and 1.0, the government says, a range slightly higher than for the UK as a whole, where it remains between 0.7 and 0.9.

However, in England's southwest the range was 0.8-1.1.

The UK's death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose by 202 to 41,481 on June 11, according to government data released on Friday.

The percentage of people in the community who have the virus had fallen from about 0.4 per cent at the end of April to 0.06 per cent in the two weeks to June 7, according to estimates by the Office of National Statistics.

Meanwhile British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a cabinet backlash over plans to suspend Sunday trading laws, to boost economic recovery, The Times newspaper has reported.

Under those laws, large stores can open for no more than six consecutive hours between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The proposed suspension would be part of a bigger bailout effort to help retail and hospitality businesses weather the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.