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Travellers 'isolate' in Dane Park in Margate after child tests positive for coronavirus

A large group of travellers say they are 'isolating' in a park popular with families after one of their children tested positive for Covid-19.

Some 15 caravans are parked up on Dane Park in Margate after arriving on Sunday and overnight.

The travellers are 'isolating' due to a Covid case in their community
The travellers are 'isolating' due to a Covid case in their community

It is understood they travelled down from Hampshire.

Cllr Gary Taylor, who represents Dane Valley on Thanet District Council, spoke to the travellers on Sunday who showed him a hospital letter confirming a child had tested positive for Covid-19.

"It was alleged to be one of their children who has underlying health issues and was tested positive on May 22 at Southampton hospital," he said.

"However I need Thanet District Council to confirm the letter they showed me."

Cllr Taylor says people were angry about the way the travellers drove onto the park, where people were sat having picnics.

Special measures are currently in place to deal with unauthorised encampments during the pandemic, including offering support to traveller communities.

The group of travellers set up camp in Dane Park in Margate
The group of travellers set up camp in Dane Park in Margate

On its website, Thanet council says it has ceased evictions during the crisis due to welfare and safety concerns.

"Gypsy and traveller communities are known to face some of the most severe health inequalities and poor life outcomes with research showing that they are significantly more likely to have a longā€term illness, health problem or disability, experience higher overall prevalence of reported chest pain and higher levels of respiratory problems," the council said.

"This means that within gypsy and traveller communities, there is a disproportionately high representation of people who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus."

A spokesman for Thanet council says the authority is aware of the unauthorised encampment at Dane Park.

"Officers are visiting the site to undertake welfare checks as required," she said.

"If welfare needs are identified then support will be offered."

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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