Wirral's estimated coronavirus 'R' number is currently higher than several of its neighbours but lower than the target threshold, according to new research.

The Government is trying to keep the R number, which is the number of people an infected person will pass it on to, below one.

If it is greater than one, the epidemic will grow exponentially and residents face a second wave of the virus.

If it is kept below one, the epidemic will ultimately disappear.

New analysis compares the number of confirmed cases reported by an authority over a two-week period to estimate the trend of this number.

Research carried out independently from the Government up until May 27 estimates Wirral's current R number to be 0.82*. Last week it was as high at 1.13 (May 22).

Wirral Globe:

Posting the findings to crowd-sharing research platform Deckzero, the researchers said: “This approximated value is not the instantaneous reproduction number.

“However, it does bear the same unit and trending as [the instantaneous reproduction number] and thus may offer a glimpse into how it might have changed during the last 14-day period.

“When cases are small, R will fluctuate more; this should not be treated as noise as the infection grows exponentially if undisrupted.”

Although the analysis currently estimates Wirral's R number to be below one, it is still higher than several neighbouring areas.

Liverpool is currently at 0.69, Garston and Halewood 0.32, Halton 0.25, St Helens 0.32, Weaver Vale 0.56 and Warrington 0.43. Sefton however is higher, with 0.99.

As countries think about how to lift lockdown, the aim will be to keep the reproduction number below one.

The Government has announced plans to deal with flare-ups of the virus in parts of England in the coming months.

This could mean schools or workplaces in some areas of the country are shut down if they have an outbreak.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the idea was part of the test, track and trace system designed to prevent a second wave.

On May 15 it was reported that the infection rate in the UK had gone up and was approaching rapid growth, according to Government scientific advice.

The so-called R-number was reported to be between 0.7 and 1.0 nationally.

Data source: https://github.com/tomwhite/covid-19-uk-data
Original Source: Public Health England, PH Wales, PHA NI and PH Scotland

*The estimated values in this story do not replicate the scientific R number.

They are not official or governmental guidance and will not be used in any scenario or situation where the government guidance should be followed including but not limited to policy making by local organisations.