Cumbria's director of public health is underlining the importance of social distancing as the R rate in the north west rises above one.

The latest R rate announcement was made today, with Public Health England (PHE) releasing the regional breakdown of the coronavirus transmission number, or R value.

The north west is showing the highest median R rate at 1.01.

The number represents the number of people an infected person will pass coronavirus on to. The government is trying to keep this figure below one in order to stop the disease spreading.

Responding to the publication of regional R numbers by Public Health England and Cambridge University, Colin Cox, Cumbria's director of public health, said: "The R number is very significant and something we have to pay close attention too. For the north west, the median R number is marginally above 1, showing the epidemic could potentially still be growing.

"This really underlines the importance of people maintaining social distancing and continuing to follow Government guidance as lockdown restrictions begin to ease. We will be monitoring the R number very carefully and a tightening of lockdown restrictions could be possible if the R number increases. This is something we all want to avoid, so we cannot be complacent.”

R number data is not available for Cumbria alone as it would be subject to a very wide confidence interval and therefore not provide a reliable indication of infection spread.

Full data is available at: