Published: 10:53, 20 November 2020
| Updated: 09:22, 23 November 2020
Swale council has called an emergency meeting to address the high number of coronavirus cases across the borough.
The council has invited senior representatives from partner agencies, such as Kent County Council, Kent Police, the prison service, Department for Work and Pensions and the local voluntary sector.
Cllr Roger Truelove, leader of the council, said: “We have been working with partners for quite some time in response to the pandemic, but the recent rise in cases is a significant cause for concern.
“We are particularly concerned about compliance with the restrictions in place. I know most people and businesses are doing what they should, but it is frustrating to still see people not wearing face coverings or keeping their distance when they should.
“This kind of wilful disregard of the rules means we are more likely to have further restrictions imposed on us in December, which is hugely unfair for people and businesses who have been doing the right thing since March.
“I want to make sure we are all doing everything we can to address the situation and keep local people safe.
“This is not where we wanted to be, but this is a chance for us all to come together to make sure we are responding effectively, and reassure people that we are all doing all we can to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
The call for an emergency meeting comes after the latest figures revealed Sheppey East had the highest amount of Covid-19 cases in the country and Swale, as a whole, had the second worst infection rate.
The ward, which covers Eastchurch, Warden, Leysdown and Harty and is home to the Island's three prisons, has been hit hard by coronavirus in the past few weeks.
Last week, it was revealed that an entire wing at HMP Elmley had been quarantined after a mass outbreak.
Swale reported 957 new cases in the past week, with its infection rate per 100,000 people rising to 634.3.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson said the worst hit parts of Kent for the virus were those with "deeply deprived areas".
And earlier this week Swale council's leader warned residents face a Christmas lockdown if the borough's rates can't be contained.
It is understood the meeting will be held on Monday, November 23. Members of the public and the press will not be able to attend.