The R-number of coronavirus infections in India has inched up in eight states, Health Secretary Lav Agarwal said at a press conference on Tuesday. He added that the R-number, an indicator of transmission of the infection, is 1.2 on an average in India, United States, Canada and Australia, ANI reported.

“Whenever R number is above one, it means that the case trajectory is increasing and it needs to be controlled,” Agarwal said.

The R-value measures how many people are being infected by one Covid-positive person on an average. For instance, a value between 0.7 and 0.9 means that every 10 Covid-positive people will pass on the infection to seven to nine others. The number of infections keeps rising if the R value is more than 1.

An R lower than 1 means that one patient is not even infecting one more person, on average, and if the number keeps falling, there will be fewer and fewer cases going forward. If every Covid-19 patient is infecting one more person, the spread remains slow, yet many people contract the disease. If R is more than 1, the infection can spiral out of control.

The states where the R-number is more than one are Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala, Agarwal said. Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are showing a declining trend, while in states such as West Bengal, Nagaland, Haryana, Goa, Delhi and Jharkhand the R-factor is at 1.

The Centre’s Covid-19 task force chief, VK Paul, also expressed concern about the rise in R number. He said that the transmission rate of the Delta variant of the virus was higher, resulting in an increase in cases in other countries.

“Delta variant is a dominant problem...The pandemic is still raging and the second wave is persisting in our own country,” Paul said, adding that the R-number should be under 0.6.

Agarwal, however, pointed out that areas with high caseloads have declined significantly over the last two months.

On June 1, as many as 279 districts were reporting more than 100 daily cases, while now only 57 are registering as many infections, Agarwal said. As for states, Kerala alone reported 49.5% of the cases over the past week.

On Tuesday morning, India recorded 30,549 new coronavirus cases taking the tally to 3,17,26,507 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The toll rose by 422 to 4,25,195.