The coronavirus R rate in England is definitely below one for the first time since July, No10’s top advisers revealed today as a raft of data offered yet more proof that the second wave is firmly in retreat. SAGE experts said they believe the R rate – the number of people each person with Covid infects – is between 0.7-0.9 in England (left), making it the first time since last summer that the panel is certain the outbreak is shrinking. The rate was between 0.7-1.0 across the whole UK. Both measures are down on last week but the group warned: ‘It remains important that everyone continues to stay at home in order to keep the R value down, protect the NHS and help save lives.’ The update comes as part of a string of data showing that the winter wave of Covid is in retreat, with pressure now mounting on Boris Johnson to speed up the easing of lockdown. The Office for National Statistics today estimated 846,900 people had the virus during the last week of January in England – the equivalent of one in 65. This is the first time the figure has dipped below 1million since Christmas, falling 16 per cent in a week. Infections remained highest in London, where one in 50 were infected, and the capital was closely followed by the East, North West, and West Midlands, where it was one in 55. Meanwhile, King’s College London ‘s Covid Symptom Study estimates there were 20,360 Brits falling unwell with the disease every day last week (right), down 29 per cent on the 28,645 the week before. Daily infections have plummeted 70 per cent since the peak on New Year’s Day, when the researchers believe there were 69,000 new cases each day.