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Coronavirus cases rise 29% in week as Kent waits to see which tier it will fall into when lockdown 2 ends on December 2


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Covid-19 cases continue to rise as Kent anxiously waits to find out if it will be placed into the toughest tier - but there are signs lockdown is working.

In Kent and Medway cases increased by 4,665 in the week ending November 18, 29% more than in the previous seven days.

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But while 29% is significant it is a less severe jump than in recent weeks - the week to November 11 saw 59% more cases than the week before, for example.

It suggests the curve is beginning to flatten in the county, which entered lockdown in a far better position than most of the country but now is worse off.

The infection rate in Kent and Medway is now 295 but rates, cases and increases currently vary widely between different areas.

While Ashford has a rate of 123 with 160 weekly cases - representing no change week-on-week - hard-hit Swale has a rate of 645.6 with 969 cases, 52% more than the previous week.

Thanet has the second highest infection rate in the county at 515.8, with 732 cases recorded last week, 12% more than the previous seven days.

Though taking away the two highest districts would bring Kent's infection rate down from 294.96 to 229.85, this is still higher than the UK national average of 192.

The county has also seen it's deadliest day since May.

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On November 18, 15 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. The last time this many people died in one day was on May 9 around the pandemic's peak.

With rising deaths and Swale and Thanet becoming the second and third most infected area in the UK, it is looking increasingly likely the county will enter the highest tier when we exit lockdown on December 2.

Where areas will be places in the the new tier system will be announced on Thursday, which will be decided based on the change in the R rate, total number of cases, how many of those tested are positive, the number of cases among people over the age of 60 and NHS projections for the coming months.

Kent faced the least severe Tier 1 restrictions before lockdown but is set to reopen under stricter rules next Wednesday - with the toughest Tier 3 measures looking increasingly likely.

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Because of the huge disparity of infection rates in different areas, Damian Green, MP for Ashford - the area with the lowest infection rate in Kent but which once had one of the highest in the UK - has called for local-level coronavirus restrictions to be put in place rather than county-wide ones.

Speaking in the Commons yesterday afternoon, Mr Green said: "In the spirit of a wise constituent who told me 'If the government introduce stupid rules, we'll stop obeying the sensible ones as well', can I ask [the Prime Minister] that the new tiers be imposed at a local level, districts rather than counties or regions.

"Restrictions which people feel are unfair to their particular community will simply not be respected or obeyed, and this will itself have a negative effect on our long-term health."

The Prime Minister disagreed with the idea of local rules, responding: "Alas, the disease is no respecter of borough boundaries."

To see the previous week's Covid-19 statistics, click here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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