THE 'R rate' in the South West has increased, amid a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the county. 

The data, which has been released by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), 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 is currently between 1.3 - 1.6, which is higher than the latest R number range for the UK of 1.2 - 1.5.

The current growth rate in Dorset is set at +3 to +8, meaning that new infections are growing between three per cent to eight per cent every day. Last week it was between two and seven per cent.

Bournemouth Echo: Coronavirus cases have increased across DorsetCoronavirus cases have increased across Dorset

A spokesman for Sage said: "Sage is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing.

"While the R-value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate.

"This is currently the case for every region of England and all have positive growth rates, reflecting increases in the number of new infections across the country."

Dorset has seen a rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases across the country, with Public Health England reporting that 157 new cases were reported yesterday (Thursday, October 8).

There were 39 new cases reported in the Dorset Council area and 118 in the Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole (BCP) Council area.

These are the latest R estimates by NHS England region: 

Region - R - Growth rate - per day

England: 1.2-1.5, +4 to +8

East of England: 1.3-1.6, +5 to +11

London: 1.2-1.4, +2 to +6

Midlands: 1.2-1.5, +4 to +8

North East and Yorkshire: 1.3-1.5, +4 to +8

North West: 1.2-1.4, +4 to +7

South East: 1.2-1.4, +2 to +7

South West: 1.3-1.6, +3 to +8