BERLIN (Reuters) – The reproduction rate for the coronavirus in Germany remained below the key threshold of 1 according to both the conventional calculation method and a new, less volatile measure, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said on Thursday.

The daily measure that it has been using – the so-called ‘R’ number – was 0.75, down from 0.81 reported on Wednesday.

This figure includes spikes caused by individual hotspots and a rise to over 1 at the weekend as a result of an outbreak of the coronavirus at slaughterhouses in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia that caused alarm.

The institute for the first time published a new 7-day figure of 0.88, calculated using a method which it says is a more accurate reflection of the trend.

A value of below 1 means that one infected person passes the virus on to fewer than one other person.

The R factor has been used by the government as a benchmark in the lockdown and subsequent easing in Germany. However, the Robert Koch Institute has in recent days said that this alone is not a decisive measure and the number of daily new infections is also crucial.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)