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Northern Ireland COVID-19 ‘R’ number rises

The Department of Health continues to publish the Covid-19 reproduction number on a weekly basis.



The current estimate of R is 0.8 – 1.8.

This means R is highly likely to be over 1 at present.


Last week’s estimated R number was 0.5 - 1.0.


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.


Community transmission remains low in Northern Ireland, although it is important to note that the number of positive tests per day has increased three fold from early July.


Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young said: “The most recent data for Northern Ireland underlines the need for continued vigilance.


“There are five key steps each of us can take to keep ourselves and others safe: rigorously maintain social distancing; wash our hands well and often; wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult; co-operate fully with the Test, Trace and Protect programme in terms of getting tested and self-isolating when required; and download the StopCOVID NI app proximity that will help us break chains of transmission.”

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