Jason started another busy week in the House of Commons with a question to the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock about how the R rate will dictate decisions on lockdown restrictions.
Jason McCartney MP
We know the significance of the R rate being 1, but what level does the R rate have to get to, and for how long, for the Government to initiate a response and bring restrictions back; then, what does it need to be reduced to, and for how long, before the new restrictions are removed?
Matt Hancock MP
The reason having the R below 1 is important is that that is the rate at which the number of new infections continues to fall.
When R is below 1, the question is how fast it is falling. The number of new transmissions for each person who has the virus is currently, on average, less than one, so R is below 1 and therefore the number of infections is falling.
We do not have a specific figure or target for R; we just want to keep it below 1 and we want to keep the number of new infections falling. Our response in the first instance to new outbreaks will be the local action we have been talking about for much of this session, and that is greatly to be preferred to a reinvigoration of the need for national lockdown.