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Kent avoids tightest Covid-19 restrictions as PM Boris Johnson announces new measures to halt spread of coronavirus

New 'local lockdown' rules have been announced but Kent has avoided the tightest restrictions that will be implemented under a three-tier system.

The new measures have been introduced, mainly in northern areas of England, to curb the rising Covid-19 rates.

New local lockdowns are to be governed by a three-tier system. Photo: iStock
New local lockdowns are to be governed by a three-tier system. Photo: iStock

England is to be divided into “medium”, “high” or “very high” local coronavirus alert areas, Boris Johnson said this afternoon.

It comes after the Prime Minister held a telephone conference with Cabinet colleagues yesterday to discuss the situation and ongoing negotiations with local leaders in the North of England - where infection rates are higher.

Latest figures for Kent show that in all areas but one there has been a rise in Covid-19 cases and several areas now meet the threshold for international travel restrictions.

The county saw 442 cases recorded in the seven days before October 2, up by 54% from 287 cases the previous week.

The county's infection rate stands at 23.77 - the highest it has been since May 28 (21.19) - up from 13.71 the previous week.

It comes as the number of cases is on the rise
It comes as the number of cases is on the rise

But while the cases are on the rise, hospital admissions are down.

In announcing the tier system at the House of Commons, Mr Johnson stressed there are now more people in hospital than when we went into lockdown on March 23.

"I take no pleasure whatsoever in imposing restrictions on businesses - nor do I want to stop people enjoying themselves," he said.

"But we must act to save lives.

"Evidence shows that our actions in changing our behavior are saving lives.

"Left unchecked, each person with the virus would infect an average of 2.7 and 3 others.

"If we were to let the virus rip then the bleak mathematics dictate we suffer not only an intolerable death toll, we would put such a huge strain on our NHS that our doctors and nurses would be unable to devote themselves to other treatments.

"The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of the country. But I have no doubt we will succeed."

Figures show the number of occupied beds in Kent has dropped to nine from 12 since September 3, with only a single person requiring a ventilator.

The three tiers announced this afternoon represent an advancing scale of local restrictions.

Tier one restrictions - or the medium Covid-19 alert level - are the baseline restrictions in place across England, including a 10pm hospitality curfew and a ban on most gatherings of more than six people.

Tier two restrictions are expected to be similar to rules currently in place in Middlesbrough and parts of the North East, where indoor mixing of households is not allowed. Parts of Nottinghamshire, and East and West Cheshire are among the areas deem to be at 'high' alert level (scroll down for the full list).

Two households may be allowed to meet in a private garden, as long as the rule of six and social distancing are followed.

The new plans have been announced today
The new plans have been announced today

In Liverpool, pubs and bars, betting shops, casinos, and gyms are to close under the third “very high” tier restrictions from Wednesday, while reports also suggest people will have to avoid all non-essential travel and to not travel between areas.

New Statesman research reveals the places in Kent 'at risk' of lockdowns.

Using its "postcode checker" nine areas of the county are rated "high risk" for a lockdown including Ashford, Dover, Gravesend, Maidstone, Medway, Swale, Thanet and Tunbridge Wells.

This is based not just on the number of positive tests but also the week-on-week rise and while many of the "high risk" areas have seen a rise in cases, in some cases by more than 50% week-on-week, the number per 100,000 people is still far lower than in areas like Liverpool and Nottingham.

Areas with a 'high' level of Covid alert are:

Cheshire West and Chester

Cheshire East

Manchester

Bolton

Bury

Stockport

Tameside

Trafford

Wigan

Salford

Rochdale

Oldham

Warrington

High Peak, Derbyshire (parts of)

Blackpool

Preston

Blackburn with Darwen

Burnley

Leeds

Bradford

Kirklees

Calderdale

Wakefield

Barnsley

Rotherham

Doncaster

Sheffield

Newcastle

South Tyneside

North Tyneside

Gateshead

Sunderland

Durham

Northumberland

Middlesborough

Redcar and Cleveland

Stockton-on-Tees

Darlington

Hartlepool

Birmingham

Sandwell

Solihull

Wolverhampton

Walsall

Leicester Oadby

Wigston

Nottinghamshire

Nottingham City

Areas with a 'very high' Covid alert level are:

Liverpool

Knowsley

Wirral

St Helens

Sefton

Halton

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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