The R value is an estimation of the reproductive rate of COVID-19 and has shot up above 1 in the last seven days.
The current estimate of R is 1.2 – 2.0
This means R is likely to be around 1.6 at present.
R represents the number of individuals who, on average, will be infected by a single person with the infection. R does not have a fixed value but varies with time, and is likely to be different every day.
When community transmission of the virus is very low, R will show a high degree of volatility and be heavily influenced by small local clusters. It will therefore no longer be the most informative or important number for the purpose of policy decisions. In these circumstances, the number of positive tests per day is likely to be a more important parameter.
The 7 day rolling average for new cases has more than doubled in the last week, and there is also a further increase in test positivity. This is partly due to increased testing in the context of the Test, Trace, and Protect service. However community transmission has gone up and hospital admissions have also begun to rise, though remain at a low level.