THE South West's 'R rate' has increased, according to the latest Government update. 

The fresh data, which has been released by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on Friday, June 18 rates the ability to spread Covid-19 and the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to, on average.

The 'R rate' for the South West now stands at between 1.0 to 1.5, while the latest R number range for the UK is 1.2 - 1.4. The national R Rate has remained the same from last week. 

The Government says an R-value between 1.0 and 1.5 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 10 and 15 other people.

The current growth rate in the South West is set at 1 to 9. The size of the growth rate indicates the speed of change.

A growth rate of between 1 per cent and 9 per cent means that the number of new infections could be growing by up to nine per cent every day.

Last week, the South West had an R rate of 1.0 to 1.3 with a growth rate of 0 to 6. 

These are the latest R estimates by NHS England regions: 

Region - R - Growth rate per day %

England: 1.2 to 1.4, 3 to 6

East of England: 1.1 to 1.3, 1 to 5

London: 1.1 to 1.4, 2 to 6

Midlands: 1.0 to 1.3, 2 to 6

North East and Yorkshire: 1.0 to 1.3, 1 to 6

North West: 1.3 to 1.5, 5 to 8

South East: 1.0 to 1.3, 1 to 5

South West: 1.0 to 1.5, 1 to 9

A Government spokesman however urged caution when interpreting the R Rate for various regions. 

He said: "When the numbers of cases, hospital admissions or deaths are at low levels and/or there is a high degree of variability in transmission across a region, then care should be taken when interpreting estimates of R and the growth rate.

"For example, a significant amount of variability across a region due to a local outbreak may mean that a single average value does not accurately reflect the way infections are changing throughout that region.

"Estimates for R and growth rates are shown as a range, and the true values are likely to lie within this range.

"The estimate intervals for R and growth rate may not exactly correspond to each other due to the submission of different independent estimates and rounding in presentation."