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Kent and Medway health bosses say there are no plans for local lockdown in county


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Kent won't be going into a local lockdown, the county's health bosses have said.

Public health directors from Kent County Council and Medway Council explained there are no plans in place for residents to face similar conditions to Leicester, where there has been a rise in Covid-19 cases.

James Williams speaks about why there aren't plans for another lockdown in Kent

Thanet and Medway were one of the few areas in the country over the past week to have reported an increase in cases and East Kent Hospitals had the highest death toll in England last week.

Despite this, Kent's health bosses have rubbished claims we could face another lockdown and said weekly figures of Covid-19 cases are showing a "steady decline".

Speaking outside County Hall in Maidstone this morning, Medway Council director of public health James Williams said: "We've got no plans at all in Medway or any area of Kent to go into any form of lockdown right now.

"We clearly have appropriate plans if we need to take action, we monitor the data, we've got our campaign which we're initiating now which is about protecting the population of Kent and Medway from the coronavrius."

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous..."

Kent County Council's director of public health, Andrew Scott-Clark, agreed with his colleague and called on the public to "play their part".

He said: "We've absolutely got no plans to do lockdown currently. What we're in is the tail of a pandemic and we're going to see these little spikes and troughs as we go through time.

"The most important thing about lockdowns is we need the public to play their part. What we do know is that we do have Covid-19 circulating in our communities, albeit at a very low level compared to the peak, but it is still there and we need people to take responsibility and maintain social distancing and be aware of how close they are to friends, colleagues and people on the street and in shops.

"We've been through it and know what it's like, nobody likes it. We want to protect our populations of Kent and our economy but we need people to behave and understand what they need to do to stop that happening."

With pubs and other businesses opening this weekend KCC's director admitted he was nervous about the reopening and has called on people to "behave and be responsible".

Public health directors James Williams, left, and Andrew Scott-Clark, right, outside County Hall
Public health directors James Williams, left, and Andrew Scott-Clark, right, outside County Hall

He said: "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, but what we need to do and ask is for people to protect themselves and protect Kent.

"The most important message here is to maintain social distancing, outdoors is much better than in, two metres is better than less than two metres and take notice of what's around and wash your hands etcetera. We're asking people to be very responsible."

Mr Williams said Medway Council trusted its population to do the right things and wanted to celebrate the reopening of many businesses which would now be able to trade and have some sort of income for themselves and their families.

When asked about the recent scenes at Kent beaches, including Broadstairs and Margate, where people ignored social distancing advice and flocked to enjoy the good weather, and whether any measures would be put in place to prevent this, Mr Williams said he wants to celebrate the responsible people during this pandemic, rather than the small minority.

"Nobody wants to go into any other forms of restrictions," he said.

Rubbish left on Margate beach after people flocked there last month because of the good weather. Picture: Frank Leppard Photography
Rubbish left on Margate beach after people flocked there last month because of the good weather. Picture: Frank Leppard Photography

"What I'd like to do is celebrate the fact that people in Kent and Medway have been responsible throughout this pandemic.

"The small minority who haven't abided by the regulations are outweighed by the considerable proportion of our population who are doing the right thing."

This comes as the Kent and Medway Local Outbreak (COVID-19) Control Plan was released earlier today, which can be viewed here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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