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Kent and Medway Tier 3 statement from Medway Liberal Democrats

November 26, 2020 9:02 PM
Martin Rose, Alan Bullion and John Castle

Photo taken before Covid pandemic

The government has announced today that Kent and Medway will be placed in Tier 3 from December 2nd, this is the highest tier. Medway has been placed in this category due to the high number cases seen in Medway over the last few weeks. North Kent, including Medway, Swale and Thanet are recording some the highest numbers of cases in the country.

We would like to highlight the good work being done by many organisations supporting people in the community. MRS and Shelter are both involving in helping people with accommodation during this time. There are several organisations helping homeless people, Time for Homeless, One big family and Gillingham Street Angels. Mutual Aid Road Reps have also been doing good work provided support. We'd also like to highlight the excellent work being done by doctors and nurses and other people involved with treating those affected during these difficult times. Social care workers are also doing great work on the front line.

Medway Hospital is seeing rising numbers of patients. The patients are being referred both from Medway and neighbouring Swale. The numbers of patients are significant, appearing to match the peak of the first lockdown, but continuing to rise. We are concerned that the numbers will become overwhelming unless effective action is taken to reduce the number of cases.

The announcement from the leader of the council earlier today made no reference to schools. With the closure of 9 schools in the local area, it's clear that schools are significant factor in the cases being reported in Medway. Careful consideration and monitoring is required to protect parents, students, teachers and those in regular contact. Minimising disruption to children's education is important, but there is a point where the risks being taken in doing so need mitigation.

Mass testing is an effective way of finding cases before symptoms present themselves. Combined with an effective trace and isolation system, this is highly effective at stopping the spread of the virus. With the North Kent area showing some of the highest numbers of cases in the country, we call upon leaders in Medway and Kent to organise mass testing and combine this with a clear strategy of test, trace and isolate in the region.

The people of Medway are highly resilient and have already been tested through two national lockdowns, the continuation of highly restrictive measures will test the local community even further. It is only through being responsible during this period that the number of cases being reported can be reduced. The reduction in the case rate requires the cooperation of residents, clear and effective communication from both Medway and Kent council leaders is required including daily updates on key information. The hope is that the combination of an effective test, trace and isolate system and the vaccination programme to be rolled out of the coming months should mean that the lockdowns and restrictive measures once more become a thing of the past. We now need to have effective leadership from the council to prevent a continuation of highly restrictive measures in the region.