England’s R rate has increased from an estimated 1 and 1.2 to between 1.1 and 1.3.
The news comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan urged the government to make face masks mandatory on public transport. In a statement, Khan said the “deadly virus has not gone away and this winter we’re facing both flu and Covid.”
A survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that roughly one in 50 people in England had Covid-19 last week, up until October 22. In the previous week, it was one in 55.
The survey also suggests that 1.3 million people tested positive in the UK for the virus, which is the highest recorded number of infected people since records began.
According to the ONS survey, the only regions where the trend is uncertain are the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. The percentage of people testing positive for the virus has increased in all other regions in England, with the highest proportion recorded in the South West, where one in 40 people tested positive last week.
Currently, only 19% of 12 to 15-year-olds have been vaccinated in England, according to figures from the UK Health Security Agency. In Scotland, 53.1% of this age group has been vaccinated.
In terms of cases, in Scotland the latest estimate shows one in 75 people had the virus last week, which is up from one in 90 the previous week. The figures in Northern Ireland are the same with one in 75 infected last week, an increase from one in 130 the previous week.
In Wales, 2,000 cases of a new off-shoot of the Delta variant have been detected. First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed during a press conference today (October 29) that there are now 370 cases in Wales per 100,000 people, which is the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic.
Restrictions will be introduced in Wales to try and combat the increase in cases. These restrictions include the introduction of Covid passes for cinemas, theatres and concert halls from November 15, urging employers to allow their staff to work from home, and those who are fully vaccinated will need to self-isolate until they receive a negative PCR if someone in their household tests positive for Covid-19.