The UK’s vaccination pace is galloping, with 1000 people vaccinated a minute on Saturday. Despite this clear victory, the lockdown appears to be stretching on indefinitely. As Dr Hilary explained on ITV this morning, caution currently trumps a hasty reopening. He said: “The R rate is still very high – until it is a thousand or below, you cannot ease restrictions.”
As Dr Hilary pointed out, if the R rate says above 1000, easing lockdown restrictions will likely drive up transmission rates again.
What is the R rate?
The R number is a way of determining the coronavirus or any disease’s ability to spread through a population.
R is the number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus to, on average.
The current scientific understanding of the coronavirus – known officially as Sars-CoV-2 – is that it would have a reproduction number of about three if no action was taken to stop it spreading.
The range is slightly narrower than last week’s number, which was between 0.7 and 1.1, SAGE said.
What do the lockdown restrictions entail?
The UK’s lockdown measure means you must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary.
You may leave the home to:
- Shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person (in which case you should stay two metres apart). Exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- Attend education or childcare – for those eligible.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in your local area – unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work.
The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.
It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
Letters are being sent out every week – you might not get your letter straight away.