To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to publish the covid-19 reproduction (R) number (R) for each local authority area.
The Government Office for Science currently publishes the latest estimate of the United Kingdom-wide range for R on a weekly basis. At the time of writing the current range is estimated to be 0.7-0.9 and is based on latest data available to determine infection and transmission rates. We do not calculate the R rate in different regions or local authority areas.
R is an average number and so can be highly uncertain if based on small quantities of data, for example, the R value for Northern Ireland will be more uncertain than England as the population is smaller and there have been fewer COVID-19 cases to date from which R can be calculated. R is not usually a useful measure on its own and needs to be considered alongside the number of new cases. Because of this uncertainty, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ view is that it is unhelpful to use estimates of R rates to monitor the epidemic in different regions.