Coronavirus: South West

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 3rd August 2020.

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Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the R value is for the South West; if he will publish any localised variation in that R value; what estimate he has made of future trends in the R value for the South West; what assessment he has made of the cause of the recent increase in the South West R value; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government Office for Science currently publishes the latest estimates of R in NHS England regions on a weekly basis and these are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

Regional R estimates are more uncertain and variability in the data means they are more likely to fluctuate from one week to the next.

Estimates of R for geographies smaller than regional level are less reliable and it is more appropriate to identify local hotspots through, for example, monitoring numbers of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths. Because of this, it is the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ view that estimating R for such small geographies would not provide meaningful insight, so the Government does not intend to publish more localised estimates.

We do not produce forecasts of future trends in the value of R at either national or regional level.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre will support local authorities and Public Health Directors to develop local outbreak plans. Working with Public Health England, we will provide an outbreak management toolkit to contain an infection. This will also include agreed triggers and escalation routes to regional or national decision makers if an outbreak is not containable locally.

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