Published: 06:00, 30 September 2020
| Updated: 15:58, 30 September 2020
The Covid-19 infection rate in Kent reached its highest level since June at the weekend, according to Public Health England figures.
Ten of the county's 13 areas have seen a rise in coronavirus cases, with the number of positive tests increasing by 35% in the week up to Saturday.
Across the seven days there were 222 new cases, compared to 165 the week before.
Most were recorded in Medway, which saw its positive tests almost double from 23 to 43.
But the area with the highest infection rate in Kent is now Dartford, with 20.43 weekly cases per 100,000 people.
A rate of 20 per 100,000 has been seen as the threshold at which the UK Government has enforced travel restrictions on countries such as Spain and France.
On Friday, Kent's infection rate stood at 13.71 - the highest since June 24, but still well below the county's peak of 59 in April.
It had fallen to 11.94 on Monday, but the small decrease is likely accounted for by a lag in reporting.
On Saturday, the UK infection rate stood at 52.72.
The news comes as the worldwide Covid-19 death toll passed one million, almost 10 months after news first broke of the virus in Wuhan, China.
More than 42,000 of these deaths have been recorded in the UK - and more than 1,600 of them in Kent.
Public health chiefs put the rise down to a number of factors.
A Kent County Council spokesperson said: “It is expected that we will see more cases with children at school, students at university and some people returning to workplaces but we are continuing to work with our partners across Kent, including Public Health England local health protection teams and the NHS, to monitor where cases are occurring and whether there are larger widespread community outbreaks.
"We are seeing a rise in cases locally and nationally and although Kent is below the England average, it is really important that residents play their part to help protect themselves and others, particularly the most vulnerable members of the community who are most at risk from severe symptoms.
"There is also more testing across the county and anyone experiencing Covid symptoms should self-isolate immediately and get a test.
"It is vital that the wider community in Kent continues to play its part and if you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service, then you should follow the guidance given to self-isolate.
"We also appeal to people to remember social distancing, regular handwashing and wearing a mask in public places to help keep the number of cases as low as possible.
"You can now also download the NHS Test and Trace app."