The Malta Independent 8 May 2021, Saturday

Watch: Covid-19 reproduction number at 1.4 – Vince Marmara

Sunday, 14 March 2021, 07:30 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Covid-19 reproduction number, also known as the r-factor, is currently 1.4, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Sunday in his weekly video blog.

The reproduction number of the virus is one of the key figures which countries across the world have been trying to reduce ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The aim for countries has been to reduce the ratio to a level of 1 - which would mean that one person would transmit the virus to one other person.


Marmara said this was an important week where many decisions were taken to try and curb the spread of the virus.

The situation is being monitored on a day-by-day basis, he said, adding that decisions taken need to reflect current scenarios. "The decisions taken a few days or months ago do not necessarily apply today. The situation is constantly being studied as it evolves, including the effect of the UK variant."

Last week saw the highest ever number of infections, with 510 cases found on Wednesday. The number of new positive cases was higher than the week before.

But Marmara also pointed out that more swab tests are being performed on a daily basis.

"When comparing the number of active cases against the number of tests carried out, 7.2% were positive, which is slightly lower than last week's 7.4%. This is important when putting things into perspective."

18 people died over the past week, but the number of recoveries was higher than the number of new cases, by 2%.

Marmara said Malta remains one of the best performers when it comes to the vaccine rollout. "It is positive to note that we are now administering over 4,000 doses a day."

So far, 7% of the population has received both doses and around 15% have been given at least the first dose. "This is very positive because the number of people that can get infected is decreasing."

When considering all this information, the r-factor currently stands at 1.4.

Marmara noted that cases in the UK continued to decrease, while the situation in France has remained stable for several months. There was a slight dip in new cases in Spain, while the number of new infections in Italy is on the rise. Germany also experienced a slight increase over the past week.

Our role remains very important, Marmara said. "We have an important and central role to ensure that the infection does not spread in the community. The absolute majority follow the rules, but it is important that everyone does so. Even if a small section does not follow the guidelines, this can have serious effects on the community."

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