The Prime Minister’s’ Roadmap out of lockdown’ announcement has been well received in Kent as residents are thanked for their efforts to bring Covid-19 rates across the county fell during the last lockdown

Boris Johnson unveiled plans to allow schools, socialization and some sports to return next month as part of government plans to ease lockdown restrictions Starting March 8, all students across years will return to class, sports and outdoor activities after school will resume, and socializing in parks and public spaces with another person will also be allowed Other dates and an easing of restrictions have also been outlined and can be viewed at wwwgovuk / coronavirus

Cases in Kent are currently 749 per 100,000, which is lower than the South East and England averages * County hospitals continue to be extremely busy, with severe cases still a concern while that CCG Kent and Medway roll out the vaccination program, delivering over 450,000 vaccines so far

KCC director of public health Andrew Scott-Clark said the drop in cases was positive, but warned of a release too soon and urged residents to continue to follow distancing guidelines social, which currently means travel restrictions and that people should stay at home, only go for essential reasons such as errands, to take medication or a period of exercise per day He said: ‘It’ is great that we are seeing the numbers go down, but we are getting to the point that even a small local outbreak in a community workplace can make a big difference and we are still very concerned about this for the most vulnerable residents who are at risk of severe symptoms

“We are reviewing our outbreak plans in light of government announcements and working with partners across the system to ensure we are prepared to carefully manage the easing of restrictions”

He added: ‘Our colleagues in the NHS are doing a fantastic job with the vaccination rollout, but it is still the responsibility of all residents to play their part by limiting their social interactions and carefully following any restrictions , while continuing to adopt the hands advice on facial space and avoid crowded popular places such as beaches and parks We also urge residents to continue to have a symptom-free test at any of Kent’s 24 sites and follow directions in case of a result positive so as not to transmit the virus without knowing it Until one of the changes outlined by the government are in place, we advise people to continue to follow current lockdown restrictions and remind them that Kent Police will enforce illegal gatherings”

Kent County Council Chief Roger Gough praised residents for following national lockdown restrictions He said: “We know it has been incredibly difficult times for people with Kent facing tougher measures since before Christmas and we are seeing the rewards of this hard work With the government’s latest announcement, we hope to be able to start supporting this path to recovery and we remain committed to four critical actions that will help us get out of the restrictions – following the guidelines; tests without symptoms; contact tracing and enforcement With these four steps we have all made significant progress in identifying and containing the virus across the county, but we need to maintain this focus”

Speaking about plans to reopen schools, Roger Gough added: “The teachers and school staff in Kent have done a fantastic job educating and supporting all of our children and youth in very difficult circumstances throughout COVID-19 pandemic and I would like to thank them once again for all their efforts Parents and caregivers also deserve praise, as do children and youth themselves Juggle home schooling and work and other responsibilities, and adapting to new working methods has not been easy so well done and thanks to all the families who have taken up the challenge throughout the past year

“Our priority is to ensure that all students in Kent can reconnect with school staff and their peers through daily school attendance, to benefit from high quality face-to-face learning in a safe environment and social connections so important to everyone’s health and well-being Kent County Council has supported schools throughout the pandemic and this will continue as they welcome all students and turn around towards a more positive future”

Over 315,000 symptom-free tests have been performed in Kent Residents can book a test at wwwKentgovuk / symptomfreetest If you have symptoms you must book via https: // wwwgovfr / test-get-coronavirus

Kent County Council’s 24-hour helpline is always available and ready to help vulnerable people in Kent who need urgent help, supplies or medication

The Kent Together helpline provides a single, convenient point of contact for anyone in the county who is in urgent need of help during the coronavirus outbreak This is a collaboration between KCC, the government central, district, district and local councils, the voluntary sector, the NHS, emergency services and other partners to ensure that help is within reach for vulnerable people and the ones that protect This is also the place to report your concerns about someone else’s well-being Go to wwwKentgovuk / Kent Ensemble or call the 24-hour helpline on 03000 41 92 92

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