Coronavirus 'growth rate' in East Anglia is highest in the country

An advert thanking the NHS in a bus shelter in Tacket Street. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The coronavirus 'growth rate' statistics have been revealed - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The "growth rate" for coronavirus is higher in East Anglia than anywhere else in the country, according to latest government figures.

The statistics suggest Covid is growing faster in the region than elsewhere - although it is only just ahead of other parts of England, and the figures do not show the specific situation in Suffolk and Essex.

The R rate, also known as the growth rate, is the number of others that one infected person will pass the disease onto.

If the R number is below 1.0, it means the spread of the illness is slowing.

However, any value above 1.0 is a cause for concern, because those who are infected are passing it on to more people - who in turn are also infecting others.

It is not possible to be precise about the figure, because it changes depending on people's behaviour or because the level of immunity they have alters.

There is also not an R rate figure published for Suffolk or Essex - instead, the figure covers the East of England as a whole.

That means the figure is influenced by what is happening in other counties, such as Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

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The government's website adds: "These estimates represent the transmission of Covid-19 two to three weeks ago, due to the time delay between someone being infected, developing symptoms, and needing healthcare."

At the start of March, the R rate in Anglia had fallen to 0.6 and 0.8 - meaning that every 10 people infected were passing it on to between six and eight other people.

By the end of May, the East Anglia rate rose to between 0.9 and 1.1, as the government's roadmap out of lockdown permitted more social mixing.

The R number in the East of England rose further in June, to between 1.1 and 1.4.

Following the removal of most restrictions on July 19, it is now at 1.3 to 1.5, higher than the England average of 1.1 to 1.4.

The areas with the next fastest growth are London, the South East and the South West, where the R rate is 1.2 to 1.5

Latest Covid infection rates have shown rises in East Suffolk in the week after 40,000 people attended Latitude Festival, near Southwold.

Data released by the government up to August 1 revealed East Suffolk's seven-day infection rate had reached 240.9 cases per 100,000 people - an increase from 182.4 the week before.

It was the only district in Suffolk to report a rise in infection rates, with Ipswich's the second-highest in the county at 214.0.