“Although we have been in a slightly better position than the national picture, this is no longer the case. The fact is that the number of cases in Thanet has risen sharply since mid-October and we need to take action to respond as a community.If the numbers don’t fall we face the threat of continuing restrictions when the national lockdown is reviewed in December, which will have a further effect on everyone’s lives, as well as the local economy.
“Case numbers are up across the entire district, not just in one particular area and there is impact across the whole community, not just one particular group of people. Everyone must step up and act in a way that protects them, their loved ones and their neighbours. We cannot afford to be complacent and assume that we won’t be affected because we’re not a big urban centre. We’re looking at the data to see where the most affected areas are and will be working with a range of local partners to get the message out and reach the people we need to.
“We have a duty to respond to this pandemic together. The effects of COVID-19 can be devastating. We mustn’t forget how many people in our community have been affected by it, the number of people who have lost loved ones, have lost their livelihood or have struggled with their mental health. Ultimately our success, and the threat of further restrictions, depends on each one of us doing what we’re being asked to – staying in, not spending time in other people’s homes, keeping six feet apart from others, covering our faces and washing our hands well. These are all things we must do, they’re within our power but it will only work if everyone plays their part. They are tiny acts of collective resistance against the virus that will result in it being suppressed.
“As a council we will be working with our partners to keep the local community informed, with facts and provide practical help. That means using our website, social media, local community leaders, the press – anyone with a network of contacts to get information out. Through our partnerships with local public health teams, we’ve supported the Department of Health and Social Care with the placement of a walk-in testing site at the Dreamland Car Park in Margate and where we can, we will support with Test and Trace activity.
“We need people to self-isolate if they have symptoms, to get tested immediately and importantly, to stay at home if you’ve been in contact with someone who tests positive – it’s vital that people do this. Not having symptoms doesn’t mean you’re ok to carry on with life as usual. We know that we’re asking people to make sacrifices but there is financial help available if you’re on a low income and told to self-isolate.
“Our focus at the moment is on galvanising the entire population of Thanet to come together and protect their loved ones and the communities they live in. We will keep working closely with Kent County Council, Public Health England and the NHS to deliver a joint response and to make sure that when the national lockdown ends we’re taking the appropriate level of measures locally and that the public are kept well informed about these plans.
“I am hopeful that if we all work really hard, together, for the next few weeks, we may be able to avoid unwanted continuing restrictions but only if we protect ourselves and each other.”
Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council