Government plea not to attended large demonstrations as R infection rate stands just below one for south east

People are asked to not gather in groups of more than six (stock photo)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has appealed to the public not to attend gatherings and demonstrations in response to organised Black Lives Matter protests this weekend.

Peaceful demonstrations are due to take place around the country, including Thanet, following  the killing of black American George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Mr Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed face down on the ground.

Black Lives Matter solidarity protests have been held across the globe in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death.

However, Mr Hancock has appealed for people not to join gatherings of more than six individuals as the country continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Restrictions and the ‘R’ rate

Restrictions initially put in place on March 23 have been eased over recent weeks but in the south east the R rate – the number of people the virus may spread to from an infected person – still stands at 0.97.

This rate needs to be below one to decrease transmission. The south east figure is the third highest in the country behind the south west at 1 and the north west at 1.01.

Source ONS

As of yesterday (June 5) there has been 40,261 covid-related deaths, according to government data. In Thanet there have been 655 people testing covid positive and 124 covid attributed losses.

Speaking yesterday Mr Hancock said: “Ahead of this weekend, when I know there are plans for further protests, I want to say something to you as Health Secretary.

“Like so many, I am appalled by the death of George Floyd and I understand why people are deeply upset.

“But we are still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat.

“And the reason that it is vital that people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their family from this horrific disease.

“So please for the safety of your loved ones, do not attend large gatherings – including demonstrations – of more than 6 people.

“We all need to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.”


  1. Bit late at that telling folk beaches are allowed to take mass gatherings

    Shame on Thanet for allowing mass crowds
    No distancing at queues for toilets
    Also I think everyone should wear a mask in public places like parks n beaches

  2. Thanet council has been a complete let down from not emptying bins or dog bins not cleaning streets beach harbour toilets etc and town full up with drug dealers and drunks where’s the community police … Council don’t even pick up recycling LAZY give people jobs when they need work instead of having cleaners and council workers doing nothing but talking

  3. As has been said, it’s a bit late advising people to avoid large crowds gathering for a good cause when the government has said it’s OK to travel anywhere you like. And when beaches and parks with no toilets are heaving with people who may, or may not, see the sense in keeping a distance between themselves and other households.

    Here’s a thought. Most people who would attend a demonstration against the death of George Floyd would tend to be thoughtful types who examine their own, and other people’s, behaviour from a moral point -of-view. So they would tend to be careful and thoughtful about social distancing when attending such an event.

    What about people who rush to a crowded beach with no toilets or other facilities to sit in the burning sun despite all the warnings about skin damage and cancer. And nowhere open so they can get themselves out of the burning rays.

    Who should be more firmly advised to change their behaviour? Discuss!

  4. I have said from day one that mask should’ve been worn in public. It’s no good keep having a go at TDC that people are going to the beaches Toney are allowed by the government and TDC can do nothing about it. Since the Covid 19 has been with us the government has tried one thing after another to try and get back to some form of normality but I think we are a long way off that at this time. The reason that some of you are constantly knocking the council is because you never voted for them you wanted your own beloved Tories in charge of the council. You know the ones that close or sell off the toilets / public building.s. ( To their friends ) at less than their true value like the less than half price council houses the party that lets the streets get dirty. You know the ones.

  5. As masks will soon have to be used on public transport then they should be used all the time whilst outside your home as so many people will touch quite a lot of handrails especially buses and trains they transfer germs from what they have touched to the mask good chance of getting virus as not everyone washes hands before putting the mask on or off surely it must be prudent to be as safe as possible. We have to stop blaming the council for everything yes they can do better on a lot of things but why 99% of the people in Thanet blame them for the rubbish it is not the councils fault that people cannot put their rubbish in a bag and carry it to the nearest empty bin even if it’s taking it all the way home we all used to do it in the old days our parents had an empty bag for the rubbish to go in and we kept our area around us clean and this was the whole beach we lived in London we came down to viking Bay we knew most of the shop keeper’s by name and if we or nearly everyone else saw anyone leaving a mess then one or more of us would say to them is your home floor got rubbish on it here you are put your rubbish in it as you go up the stairs there are four bins there and they are empty. We never had dirty beaches or streets people took a pride in their neighbourhood and beaches and parks if you couldn’t find a bin by the time you got to the station you took it home to your home dustbin my children have learnt to respect their neighbourhood and grandchildren have to apart from 1 who needs constant reminding to respect their neighbourhood as he won’t have any birds butterflies or hedgehogs to see if they eat the rubbish he throws on the ground. Respect for others space and thought for those around them has almost completely disappeared the ethics and morals of so many it’s not just one group or type of person or any age group it is so disappointing how it has happened.

    • I don’t think there’s any need to wear masks all the time. Only if you’re very close to people,physically, which is seldom, unless you’re squashed together on a crowded bus or train. Or if you are in the exceptionally-vulnerable category.

      • Marva do you travel by train or bus or even coach?? Well if you don’t let’s suppose you do and you get on a train you have to wear a mask you have to wash or sanitise your hands before putting it on as can you remember everything you touched I doubt it and even if you could recall the front door or car door of say a taxi but if you touched the mask you transferred germs while putting it on. And when you get of the train your so glad to get your mask off you forget you didn’t wash your hands before you touched your mask and face you have now accidentally just caught the virus because you have been touching things on the train that is how easy it is to get it. I’m not suggesting you will but this is why by using masks it would be prudent to wear it all the time and just remove it when you’ve cleaned your hands the I think is one reason the government have said all nursing should wear a full mask from the 15th same as on transport.

  6. Actually, it does not have to be a face mask from 15th June on public transport. They have said face coverings, which could be a scarf or jumper pulled up over the mouth and nose. They know not everyone can get hold of masks because of the need to supply doctors, nurses, carers and other essential workers first so have left it open to the traveller what they cover their faces with. A bit pointless really. The whole governing of this pandemic in the UK has been pitiful.
    The protests about the american killing should have been cancelled or postponed until large gatherings are allowed again.

  7. As a white man, I have felt proud of these mostly young people protesting against racism, and in the process risking their lives! Most of my life I have objected to racism because its so stupid! How is it even possible to hate, or dislike, someone just because of the colour of their skin, its so illogical!

    And as for pulling that statue down of someone responsible for enslaving tens of thousands of men, women, and children, bloody good show! How would you feel if you went to Germany and saw statues of Hitler, or other NAZI’s? No, look at history and see racism is still endemic, by stupid people, and challenge it whenever it rears its ugly head!

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