(Adds detail, table)
LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - UK scientists are no longer
confident that the reproduction number of the coronavirus in
England is below 1, the government said on Friday, even as
latest estimates suggested it was, due to time lags in the data.
The reproduction, or R, number, a closely watched metric of
whether an epidemic is growing, was published shortly before
Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponed the next step in the
easing of lockdown, citing rising infection rates.
The number of infections in the community is on the rise for
the first time since May, a survey by Britain's Office for
National Statistics showed on Friday.
"Models that use COVID-19 testing data that have less of a
time delay have recently suggested higher values for R in
England," the Government Office for Science said in a statement
which said the R value for England was 0.8-1.0.
"For this reason, SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for
Emergencies) does not have confidence that R is currently below
1 in England."
For the UK as a whole, the R rate rose to 0.8-0.9, from the
0.7-0.9 figure published last week.
In the North West, the R rate was 0.8-1.1. On Thursday
night, Britain imposed tougher lockdowns across swathes of
northern England after a rise in the rate of coronavirus
Below is a table of regional R numbers. An R number below
one indicates a pandemic is shrinking. The growth rate indicates
the daily pace of change of infections.
UK 0.8-0.9 -4 to -1
0.8-1.0 -4 to -1
East of 0.7-1.0 -6 to -1
London 0.8-1.0 -4 to 0
0.7-0.9 -6 to -2
North East 0.7-0.9 -6 to -2
North West 0.8-1.1 -5 to +1
0.8-1.0 -3 to 0
South West 0.8-1.1 -4 to +1
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison/Guy
(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)* LME metals relative performance: https://tmsnrt.rs/3uuTQeh* ILZSG zinc market balances: https://tmsnrt.rs/3nVl9Mk* ILZSG lead market balances: https://tmsnrt.rs/3nTNKSn...