The coronavirus R rate has dropped below one for the first time in nearly three months, the latest Government figures show.
This means that on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 9 and 10 other people.
This is the lowest infection rate in the UK since between August 21 and September 4, when the R number was between 0.9 and 1.1.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the growth rate for the virus is between -2 per cent and 0 per cent, which means the number of infections is shrinking between 0 per cent and 2 per cent every day.
When the figure is above 1, the Covid-19 epidemic will continue to grow but if it is below 1, it shows the outbreak is in retreat.
Last week, the R number was said to be between 1 and 1.1.
It comes after figures showed Covid-19 cases were falling in 24 London boroughs.
The rolling seven-day rate in London fell for a sixth day in a row, to 177.1 per 100,000 on November 21, from what looks increasingly like a second wave peak on November 15.
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told a Downing Street press briefing on Thursday that one in 85 people in the country have coronavirus at the moment, numbers which he said were “very high”.
Meanwhile more than 55 million people face tougher coronavirus restrictions in England after it was announced that the majority of areas in England will be placed under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions after December 2.
The tier allocations will be reviewed on December 16, with weekly revisions thereafter.
Case rates are currently rising in only eight of the 119 areas to go into Tier 3.
Seven of the eight are in south-east England: Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Tonbridge & Malling, and Tunbridge Wells. The other is Hyndburn in north-west England.
MPs will vote on the new system on December 1, the day before the tiers come into force, and Mr Johnson faces a revolt on the Tory benches over the measures.
The Government has promised to publish an impact assessment of the measures before MPs vote on them following protests that economic harm and the knock-on health impacts of restrictions are not being properly considered.