Published: 06:00, 06 May 2020
| Updated: 07:36, 06 May 2020
Cramped living conditions and people ignoring lockdown restrictions are being blamed for an area in Thanet becoming a coronavirus fatality hotspot.
Cliftonville West recorded a total of 13 deaths related to Covid-19 between the period of 1 March 2020 and 17 April 2020, the highest number in the county.
The second-highest figure on the isle is the seaside town of Broadstairs, with five confirmed deaths.
Matt Shoul, of Athelstan Road, Cliftonville, who runs the Athelstan Road Tenants and Residents Association (ARTRA), believes the high figure could be directly related to people flouting lockdown rules.
He said: "There hasn't been a lockdown in Cliftonville West, there is no lockdown on Athelstan Road either.
"If you go out on the street anywhere in Cliftonville West you will see an awful lot of people outdoors anytime of the day or night.
"It's very difficult not to conclude that total lack of lockdown here, street after street, is resulting to the highest fatality rate in the county."
Mr Shoul said it is a regular occurrence for him to see neighbours standing out on the pavements drinking and socialising in groups.
The Cliftonville resident recently teamed up with others in the community to try and help educate those ignoring the rules.
Mr Shoul worked alongside Ayaan Bulale, who is part of the Open School East art space in Margate, to distribute leaflets and posters clearly detailing the government's lockdown advice.
The posters were written in Slovak, Czech and Bulgarian, to make sure each person that makes up Cliftonville's diverse community was equipped to understand the restrictions.
But Mr Shoul said he has not seen any improvement on his street.
He said: "The end result is absolutely nothing."
"The street's just full of people sunning themselves, hanging out, drinking - business as usual for Athelstan Road."
Cllr Harry Scobie (Lab), of Cliftonville West, said he had been informed of people in some streets flouting lockdown restrictions.
He said: "A friend of mine lives in one of the more densely populated roads, and is reporting that people are ignoring the lockdown and sitting out on the steps outside their houses.
"Police are informed and come and remove them, but as soon as they leave they’re back out on the porches.”
Speculating on the reason for the high number of coronavirus fatalities, he said: "It’s poverty and density, almost certainly.
"I am shocked there have been these deaths in Cliftonville West, but not entirely unsurprised because it's one of the most densely populated areas in the south east.
"It’s sad that a lot of people haven’t got gardens, many of them live in small flats in buildings packed with other small flats."
Other residents have also spoken out against those flouting lockdown measures.
Mary Strachan, of Dalby Square, said she has seen a number of people ignoring the government guidelines and going about their daily lives.
She said: "There are lots of people living in HMOs) (house in multiple occupation) who are just totally ignoring lockdown.
"They're either not getting it, or they are deciding to defy it."
Kent Police’s area commander for Thanet, Chief Insp Ed Ruffle, said: "Kent Police continues to carry out patrols around Thanet, including Cliftonville, to remind people of their responsibilities to follow the government’s guidance to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and support the NHS.
"We encourage anyone concerned about potential breaches of the guidance to report them to us by calling 101 or using the dedicated page on our website and we will carry out extra patrols in areas of concern.
"Officers continue to engage, explain and encourage everyone to follow the national advice and only leave home if it is absolutely necessary.
"Enforcement will be used when people fail to respond to officers engaging with them."
Other parts of Kent have seen a high number of coronavirus-related fatalities.
The figures, released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), also revealed places in the county which have not had a single death from the virus.