New measures to combat coronavirus announced – people told to avoid all ‘unnecessary’ social contact


Thanet, along with the rest of the country, will now be bracing itself for the economic and social impact following a public briefing by Prime Minister Boris Johnson where he has advised people to avoid all ‘unnecessary’ social contact.

In the conference today the PM said the advice was for people to work from home if possible, avoid pubs, clubs, and theatres and for any person with symptoms the entire household should self isolate for 14 days.

Talking of pubs and other social venues he said: “What we are doing is giving very strong advice that public venues such as theatres should no longer be visited.

“The proprietors of those venues are taking the logical steps that you would imagine, you are seeing the change happen already.

“As for enforcement, we have the powers if necessary but I don’t believe it will be necessary to use those powers.”

The conference also said those over 70, people with significant health conditions and pregnant women should also begin self isolating in a matter of days -by the weekend – for a 12 week period to ‘shield’ them from the virus.

He said anyone in the same house as someone who has a cough or fever would have to isolate for 14 days.

Non essential travel should not be undertaken and mass gatherings would no longer be supported. Schools will not be shut down at this time.

The PM said the measures were ‘draconian’ but added: “We are asking people to do something difficult and disruptive to their lives,” in a bid to reduce spread of the coronavirus and ease pressure on health services.

Covid-19 testing is to be ‘scaled up’  as the government predicts the health crisis will last weeks or months.

The PM said the measures are part of the “fight back” against the disease. Admitting the economy will take a hit he said he expected it to ‘bounce back.’

Daily PM briefings will now take place.

How will residents and businesses cope?

Kent County Councillors Barry Lewis (Margate ) and Karen Constantine (Ramsgate) say they are concerned about how many Thanet residents will manage during the next weeks and months in the wake of the Government’s latest advice on Coronavirus.

Cllr Barry Lewis is calling for a suspension of council tax for all households so that the ‘saving’ can be used for other household essentials. He said: “The reality is it will take quite a long time for any money, benefits etc to be paid to people. This is something the county council can do quickly which will really help people”.

Karen Constantine

Cllr Karen Constantine is calling for KCC to establish a hardship fund, funded from KCC reserves, so that those on zero hour contracts can continue to pay for accommodation and meet food and other essential costs. She’d like to see the fund available to any resident suffering hardship as a result of the Government’s measures. She said: “It’s now extremely important to get genuine robust support into place as quickly as possible. If national Government can’t or won’t do it, KCC should”.

Cllrs Lewis and Constantine are urging Kent County Council to be bold, to act urgently and to focus on those communities that are already struggling.

Care providers in Kent and Medway

The Kent Integrated Care Alliance (KiCA) is supporting the government  and working with the care sector to ensure vulnerable adults in the community can be supported by care and support workers.

Ann Taylor, Chair of KiCA, said: “We are all aware that the spread of the coronavirus will affect everyone of us in some way over the coming months.  Both staff and people using health and social care services need to be aware that current levels of care and support will be greatly reduced as we move into the peak of this pandemic.

“Whether in a care home, or in the community, there is no doubt our current lifestyles will be greatly compromised for some time to come. We want to reassure you that care providers in Kent and Medway are coming together to maintain and support the most vulnerable people in our county.

“The Alliance is pooling resources and staff to ensure the effective use of our social care workforce, and that that we can achieve the biggest impact during these difficult times. We are appealing and putting out a ‘call to arms’ for volunteers and people who have previously worked in the health and social care sector to make contact with their local care providers to offer their services.

“As you can imagine care providers are facing huge pressures to maintain the current provision of community based care as well as trying to support the local health economy by ensuring clinical beds are free for those who are seriously ill.  We invite anyone who is currently not working due to the disruption, but fit and well, to approach their local care providers to offer short-term contract support until the country returns to normality.

“The county’s social care sector is also particularly keen to here from individuals who may have transferable skills from other sectors such as; hospitality, hair and beauty, retail, and childcare. If you would like to help, please contact local care providers in your area or contact KiCA directly on the following email [email protected] where signposting assistance will be provided.”

National data

As of 9am on 16 March 2020, 44,105 people have been tested in the UK, of which 42,562 were confirmed negative and 1,543 were confirmed as positive.

55 people are confirmed to have died from the disease. In Kent 12 people are confirmed to have the virus with a further two in Medway. Confirmed cases in Thanet include one at Birchington Vale, another in Westgate, and a parent of a Chatham & Clarendon grammar student.

Daily updates: Impact of coronavirus on Thanet businesses, events, groups and schools


  1. so my wife with poor immune system has to lock herself away for 12weeks and no contact with the rest of us in the house? and as to people working form home that isnt going to happen now is it.. too little too late and not workable..

    • With people not going to cafes, pubs, restaurants, gigs etc, and not doing anything ‘non-essential’, vast numbers of people will lose their livelihood for a period of time. Many are already living from paypacket to paypacket. The govt needs to introduce something effective and comprehensive to cover everyone affected – not the half measures so far.

  2. If we have to self-isolate for 14 days, the least that can be done is to ensure that wages are still being paid or that mortgages or rents can be suspended for that period. Otherwise, lots of us will battle on to work regardless of what we will prefer to call “just a cold” because, otherwise, we won’t have an income. And the shops are already running out of some supplies even if we had the cash left to buy them.

  3. how can I explain to my husband who has dementia that he should not go out to his cafe,this is his life now and his routine but he has underlying problems so I worry as to how his health will deteriate, he just doesn’t understand

  4. Well I’m sorry but I can see nothing in today’s statement that says what has been written above.. “The conference also said those over 70, people with significant health conditions and pregnant women should also begin self isolating in a matter of days -by the weekend – for a 12 week period to ‘shield’ them from the virus.” There is nothing there that applies to the general public.. only those with symptoms, or exposed to family members with symptoms. There is certainly nothing there that says anything like ‘by next weekend’.. and further the ‘isolation’ does not include outdoor exercise while avoiding contact with others… which also includes walking dogs. Please don’t add to the primary reason for the recent spell of panic buying by suggesting such measures are imminent. Even a week is a long time…

    • Everyone has been urged to reduce their social interactions, not just those over 70 or with underlying medical conditions.
      That was quite clear from the broadcast yesterday.

  5. If we were really “all in this together”, the government would quickly move to suspend rent and mortgage payments so the thousands who will be out of work over the next few weeks will not lose their home. Universal Credit would be paid upfront , NOT after a delay of five weeks as at present, causing people to rely on foodbanks.
    A lot of small businesses are going to be laying staff off. A lot of self-employed tradespeople will be losing work while they self-isolate.
    We need to get back to a proper Welfare State in this country. For too long, the Welfare State has been derided and starved of money so that, now, when it is needed more than ever, we find that we have nowhere near enough doctors or nurses or Care Workers, not enough ventilators or intensive care beds, and thousands suddenly facing joblessness and no Benefits available to tide them over because the Benefits system has been deliberately run down to below minimum, even if you get anything at all.

  6. Here Here Keefogs! I am in my 78th year, with two life threatening lung diseases, and heat a condition, and I tried to get through on 111 for an hour this morning, without success! All I want to know is can Anti-Bacterial Hand Wash gel kill off the virus? It does not contain alcohol, and is being sold by Wilko. I am single, and can’t stand my own company for 4 months, so will still be going out, but if I come into contact with a surface, and can’t wash my hands, I will have to use a hand gel, but not if its a waste of time! The NHS can’t tell me, because the 111 number is over subscribed, and no one answers, but the Tories have found a money tree with £330 billion on it, for their business friends no doubt!

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