Scientists have declared the crucial R number, which measures how fast coronavirus is spreading in the UK, is now almost down to 1.
SAGE said the number across the UK is between 1.0 and 1.1, down from 1.0-1.2 last week.
That means every 10 people with Covid-19 pass the virus to 10 or 11 others on average.
The R number is now below 1 in the North West, sitting at 0.8 to 1.0, after the region was hit with tougher Tier 3 restrictions before lockdown.
Because the figures come wit a time lag of up to three weeks, R may already be below 1 in England but it hasn’t yet shown up on the official figure.
It comes after Matt Hancock said there are “promising signs the lockdown is working” in England.
The Health Secretary claimed he was starting to see a “flattening” in cases as data begins to trickle in from the month-long shutdown, which is due to end on December 2 and return to a tier system.
Mr Hancock pointed to the rolling seven-day average of new cases in the UK, which fell from 24,601 as of November 10 to 24,489 as of November 11.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m calling it a flattening rather than a fall because one swallow doesn’t make a summer.
“But these are promising signs that the lockdown is working to get the number of cases under control.”
However, scientists have warned it is not enough for cases to flatten off – they must also fall before lockdown can be eased.
Otherwise, England will simply be back in the same position after lockdown with cases threatening to overwhelm the NHS.
More up-to-date information suggests the number of new Covid cases in England’s community fell in the first full week of lockdown.
There were an average of 38,900 new cases per day of Covid-19 in England between November 8 to 14, the ONS said.
This is down almost 8,000 from an estimated 47,700 new cases per day for the period October 31 to November 6.
The ONS said the rate of new infections “appears to have levelled off in the most recent week”.
Those results come from the Infection Survey, which estimates anyone with coronavirus, not just those who test positive.
However, institutional settings like hospitals and prisons are not included.
R number and growth rate in each UK region
- UK 1.0-1.1
- England 1.0-1.1
- East of England 1.0-1.3
- London 1.0-1.2
- Midlands 1.0-1.2
- North East and Yorkshire 1.0-1.1
- North West 0.8-1.0
- South East 1.1-1.3
- South West 1.0-1.3