THE R number for the United Kingdom has fallen below one — for the first time since August. 

With the rate dropping, that means fewer people are being infected and suggests the virus is no longer growing.

In the most recent update, the government has said the R number, or reproduction rate, now stands between 0.9 and 1.0 — which indicates on average every ten people infected will pass it on to between nine and ten other people.

The growth rate is now between -2 and 0 per cent, meaning the number of new Covid infections is shrinking by between 0 and two per cent every day.

The R number for the South East, however, remains between 1.0 and 1.3 with a growth rate of 0 to three, meaning the virus could potentially be spreading in some areas.

It is not possible to determine an R number for the Isle of Wight but public health director for the Island, Simon Bryant, has said the covid rate for the area is low and decreasing.

The seven-day case rate for the Isle of Wight has dropped and now stands at 60 cases per 100,000 compared to a height on November 16 at 83.9 per 100,000.

A total of 948 cases have been confirmed on the Island, one of the lowest numbers in the country.

The lower rates of infection has been one of the reasons the Isle of Wight will go into Tier One when the national lockdown ends next week.