New figures show which parts of the UK have highest coronavirus infection rateby Martin Bagot, https://www.mirror.co.uk/authors/Martin_Bagot/
The South West has the highest coronavirus infection rate in Britain as an R number for each region has been revealed for the first time.
The North East and East Midlands are estimated to have the next highest rate followed by the North West.
The “reproduction rate” number is crucial to the pace lockdown is lifted. If it goes above 1 new restrictions could be needed.
Ministers had refused to publish a breakdown by region but Manchester Mayor Andy Burnam released them.
He tweeted: “Not a great deal of ‘room for manoeuvre’, as the Chief Scientific Adviser told the @10DowningStreet briefing.”
The data was compiled by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Officially the UK as a whole has an R of between 0.7 and 0.9 but Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance has said a slight increase could be dangerous.
All regions were deemed to have infection rates “decreasing” or “likely decreasing” apart from the South West.
The area tends to have an older population and less NHS capacity.
The data will spark fears of a surge of tourists to spots such as Cornwall.