By observing social distancing one person with coronavirus can reduce the number of people they infect by almost 90 per cent, accorrding to research by an Oxford academic.

Dr Robin Thompson, a junior research fellow in mathematical epidemiology at Oxford University, studied how much social distancing can reduce pass-on rates of Covid-19.

His mathematical modelling, based on measures now in place to reduce person-to-person contact, shows without social distancing, one coronavirus sufferer could, in six weeks, have led to 1,093 cases.

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This is based on the reasoning that one person with Covid-19 will pass it onto three other people over the course of their infection.

In another week, each of the three will have passed it onto another three people.

Each week, each person will infect three more people and so after six weeks, the first person will have started a chain of transmission leading to more than 1,000 cases.

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But with social distancing, the same sufferer could, in six weeks have started chains of transmission with just 127 cases.

The research has been shared on Oxford University's dedicated coronavirus research section. Read the full update here.

Dr Thompson said the modelling is particularly relevant to coronavirus, explaining: “It’s very hard to self-determine whether or not we’re infected.

"Even if we are carrying the virus, we may have no or very few symptoms. We could therefore be spreading the virus without even knowing it.”