THERE are signs that Bolton may be winning the battle against coronavirus.

In a bid to prevent the infection from spreading the UK Government is attempting to keep the R Number below one.

This figure ­— which stands for reproduction value ­— relates to the average number of people a person infected with Covid-19 will pass the virus on to.

After several challenging months and weeks under lockdown, new research has revealed the town’s R Number is now one of the lowest in the UK.

According to analysis shared on the Deckzero Covid Tracker ­— Bolton’s R Number is currently estimated at 0.4*.

This ranks the town in the bottom 30 out of 180 local authority areas examined.

If the figure remains below one the epidemic in Bolton could ultimately disappear.

But if the R value returns to above one then cases could increase rapidly and exponentially.

Public Health England reports: “In an epidemic, one of the most important numbers is R - the reproduction number.

“If this is below one, then on average each infected person will infect fewer than one other person; the number of new infections will fall over time.

“The lower the number, the faster the number of new infections will fall.

“When R is above one, the number of new infections is accelerating; the higher the number the faster the virus spreads through the population.”

Over the last two weeks Bolton’s estimated R-value has dropped from just over one, to its current, lowest ever level.

It has also declined steeply from an estimated R Number of around 2.5 in March and April.

Researchers behind theDeckzero analysis 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 it 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 is undisrupted.”

Bolton now has a relatively low number of daily cases ­— meaning the R-value is likely to fluctuate.

As the UK and other countries think about how to lift lockdown, their aim will be to keep the reproduction number below one.

At present the UK’s R-value is estimated to range between 0.7 and 0.9.

*The estimated values in this story do not replicate the scientific R number.

They are not official or governmental guidance and will not be used in any scenario or situation where the government guidance should be followed including but not limited to policy making by local organisations.