London, Oct 3 : The UK's 'R' rate of coronavirus transmission has remained above 1 and is continuing to increase, according to the latest government update.
'R' represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect and when the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, the Metro newspaper reported.
Data released on Friday by the government's Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed that the rate was now estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.6, a spike from between 1.2 and 1.5 a week ago.
The government body further warned that while there were some early indications that suggest the growth of the pandemic might be slowing, it was too early to draw firm conclusions.
"It is still highly likely that the epidemic is growing exponentially across the country," the scientists said, adding that more data was needed to accurately assess recent changes in coronavirus transmission.
"Over the next few weeks, it will be important that we understand this in the UK and do not become complacent."
Meanwhile, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that an estimated one in 500 people were infected with the novel coronavirus in England between September 18 and 24, reports the Metro newspaper.
In recent weeks, "there has been clear evidence of an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19", with the current rates highest in teenagers and young adults, the ONS said.
"There is evidence of higher infection rates in the North West and North East, as well as Yorkshire and the Humber and London," it added.
As of Saturday, the overall tally of coronavirus cases in the UK increased to 469,764, while the death toll stood at 42,358.