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News article entitled “We can do this!” – Kent County Council urges residents to stay strong in COVID lockdown extension

“We can do this!” – Kent County Council urges residents to stay strong in COVID lockdown extension

Published: 16/06/2021

The government’s decision to extend lockdown will be tough for many in Kent but latest COVID-19 figures show the virus has not gone away, the county’s senior council and health leaders said today.

Uniting to acknowledge the impact of maintaining all legal restrictions on social contact for another four weeks will have on Kent communities and businesses, the Leader of Kent County Council along with the Director of Public Health for Medway, said they understood how disappointed people will be and urged anyone struggling to get advice and support.

Under the fourth phase of the government’s roadmap for recovery, all remaining restrictions were due to be lifted in England next Monday, 21 June.

The move would have enabled venues and events to operate without any limits on numbers. It would have also meant home gatherings would no longer be limited to six people and two households.

But amid rising cases of the Delta variant, the Prime Minister announced on 14 June that the reopening would be pushed back to allow more people to be vaccinated. Boris Johnson said it would also allow health experts more time to assess whether vaccination is breaking the link between infection and hospitalisation.

Speaking to the media, Director of Public Health for Medway, James Williams, said: “I want to reassure everyone in Kent that we will continue to review the challenge of COVID-19 and we will gauge our response in order to deal with that challenge.

“I thank everyone for everything you have done so far to keep each other safe, but if we are to reach the new goalpost of 19 July we need to, for a little while longer, stick to the guidelines – hands, face, space – and keep testing ourselves twice a week to ensure we don’t have the virus.

“Testing is so important. It gives us a real understanding about what is happening in communities. We can therefore do enhanced testing and immediately get ahead of any outbreaks or clusters that we see and take action to isolate those cases. That’s what we have been doing and what we will continue to do.”

The Leader of Kent County Council, Roger Gough, added: “We all want to regain our full freedoms and the decision by government to delay the end of lockdown restrictions will be hugely disappointing for many people and businesses in Kent.

“From couples planning that big family wedding, to those who make their living in sport and leisure industries, to those organising large events, last night’s government announcement is the set-back to recovery none of us wanted to see.

“But as the latest figures show, COVID-19 and its variants, particularly the Delta variant, are still very much with us. Indeed, for some parts of Kent, infection rates are rising.

HM Government banner that reads: Join the millions already vaccinated. You're much less likely to get serious COVID-19 or be hospitalised if you've been vaccinated. We'll let you know when your COVID-19 vaccine is ready for you.

“We must be evidence-led and the numbers are showing us we must remain cautious and, having come this far, we have to dig deep and stay strong for one more month. And for anyone struggling – be it individuals or businesses – it is important to remember help is at hand.”

Dedicated COVID support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. In addition to loans, people may be eligible for tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed. To learn what help is available use the government's coronavirus business support finder.

Kent County Council’s Kent Together initiative is also still available and ready to support Kent residents who may need a bit of extra help during the pandemic, including with food deliveries and medication.

Launched over a year ago, the Kent Together helpline is a collaboration between KCC, central Government, District, Borough and local councils, the voluntary and community sector, the NHS, emergency services and other partners to ensure help is at hand for those who need it most. It is also the place to report your concerns about the welfare of someone else. Visit the Kent Together website or call the 24 hour helpline at 03000 41 92 92.

The Kent Together advice pages can also guide people who have had a reduction in their household income and are struggling.

In addition to practical and material challenges, Coronavirus has also created a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. Read more about all the wellbeing support available via the Kent Together wellbeing page online.