The R number in London and across the UK is between 1.2 and 1.5 and the Covid-19 epidemic is growing, scientists have said.

Experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) estimate the number of new infections is growing by between 4% and 8% every day.

This comes as the number of cases of coronavirus in England jumped by a massive 60% in one week.

Sage says the reproduction value - the number of people an infected person will pass the virus on to - was up to 1.2 to 1.5 on the 1.1 to 1.4 it reported in the previous week.

All regions of England have an R that is higher than one and all have positive growth rates.

"An increase in the UK-wide estimate of growth rate indicates that the rate of transmission is increasing across the country," Sage said.

It said the current low numbers of deaths does not reflect how Covid-19 is currently spreading, suggesting death rates will rise in the coming weeks.

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According to the Office for National Statistics infection survey, there were around 9,600 new infections per day in England last week, up on the 6,000 the week before.

The survey, which tests thousands of people in English homes whether they have symptoms or not, found an estimated 103,600 people had Covid-19 from September 13 to 19, equating to around one in 500 people.

The data suggests there are three times the number of infections in the community as those being captured by Department of Health and Social Care data.

Overall, England has an R number of 1.2 to 1.5 while London and the Midlands are both on 1.2 to 1.5.

The figure is 1 to 1.3 in the South East and 1.1 to 1.4 in the South West.

The ONS said: "In recent weeks, there has been clear evidence of an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in all age groups, with the current rates highest in the 17 to 24 age group.

"There is evidence of higher infection rates in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, London and North East."


Katherine Kent, co-head of analysis for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said there had been a "marked" increase in cases across England.

She added: "Every week we are sending out new letters to houses across the UK to ask them to take part in the Covid-19 Infection Survey to help us get more information about how the virus is spreading.

"If you receive a letter from us, please take the time to register and help control the spread of this virus."