CORONAVIRUS may be spreading less rapidly in Swindon than in most other parts of the UK.

New research indicates that the borough could have one of the lowest R numbers in the country.

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

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

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

This research estimates that Swindon's R number is 0.35. This puts it in the bottom 15 out of 172 local authorities in the UK who had a figure above 0.

The rest of Wiltshire had a slightly higher estimate of 0.36.

The below graph charts the number of cases recorded in the borough and how the R number estimate has changed in the Swindon area since the pandemic hit the UK.

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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 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.”

There are currently 451 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Swindon and 528 in the rest of Wiltshire.

The below map of the UK shows the research's estimated R number for each local authority. The reds and yellows signify a high number while the blues and greens suggest a low estimate. Swindon's (marked with a black rectangle) is light blue.

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