Rise in South East R rate and positive covid tests in Thanet

Covid test site at Manston Photo Frank Leppard

A slight rise in the South East R rate – which measures the rate of transmission of the coronavirus – may be due to low incidence and/or clustered outbreaks according to the latest data from the government.

Currently the rate stands at between 0.8 and 1 for the South East – including Kent – and at 0.7 to 0.9 for the UK. For England the average rate is the same as that in the South East.

The reproduction rate needs to be below one to show a flattening of the virus. If the growth rate is greater than zero (+ positive), then the epidemic is growing.

The infection rate for Thanet has also increased to 851 positive cases and 142 losses have been recorded, a rise of two in the last week.

Photo Frank Leppard

Increased testing will have taken place among isle residents following the opening of a covid test centre at the Manston airport site.

The centre is open seven days a week from 8am to 7pm and will be in place for four months. People can drive in and either pre-book on the government portal or register on the gate.

The site at Manston airport car park is in addition to sites already operating in Ashford and Ebbsfleet, plus mobile testing units deployed more locally around the county including Dover, Canterbury, Folkestone, Medway, Maidstone, and Sittingbourne.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. Tests can be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Manston test centre Photo Sam Bambridge

The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history, including 70 drive-through sites, 11 walk-through sites, 125 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and three mega laboratories.

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Photo Frank Leppard

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Mitie and will offer self-administered tests.



  1. Good idea most of the Thanet population do not have a car public transport is literally nil from any part of the district there could local sites neather. Land around Westwood more accessable.

  2. Apart from saying ‘most’ don’t have a car bring a bit of an exaggeration, since the previous nearest main test facilities were in Ebbsfleet and Ashford, surely Manston in easier to get to whatever means of transport you use? They can’t put testing stations everywhere.

  3. Judging by the enthusiasm of some drinkers in Ramsgate last week I wouldn’t be surprised if the “R” number went through the roof

  4. If you don’t drive it is really simple – order a home testing kit.

    If you are having symptoms of Covid, for heaven’s sake don’t get on a bus to Manston to get a test.

    The whole site is designed for people to turn up in a car and stay in a car for the entire testing process. You can’t get out of your car and have to test yourself exactly like you would at home.

  5. There is a walk through next to the drive through. If you have a bike cycle up there, otherwise it might be better to order your home test kit. Dial 119 if you have no internet.
    I’m not surprised the rate is rising with all the crowding into and outside pubs that have reopened. There needs to be better social distancing measures at these places. They are supposed to have done risk assessments before opening so if they can’t handle the crowds they should shut until they can better manage them.

  6. There is a simple answer to the problem of the pubs and the excessive number of people visiting them and putting everybody in danger, and that is CLOSE ALL THE PUBS. Why should us non drinkers have to
    face catching something through the drinkers and their over drinking.

    • If you don’t visit the pubs, you’re unlikely to catch anything.
      And not all pubs are the same. Some are very organized and “safe”. One or two are hotbed for CV transmission.

      • Maybe report any premises where cv19 precautions are not being taken seriously,the authority’s will offer them guideline.


  7. If people carry on being stupid the rate will rise, it should be renamed the stupid people’s virus

  8. Umm! They had better get those tents down sharpish, because RSP’s bulldozers will soon be on site to build this lovely new airport ready for operation in 2023.
    Hubba Hubba RSP!
    Oh by the way if KCC want to stack some lorries over there in January, bad luck, because the hangers and the warehouse will well on the way to being completed, won’t they?
    Home test kits are awkward to use for uninitiated and will have a higher failure rate than those from test centres.
    Can any one tell me why it took 4 months to erect a few tents and some barriers, or am I being unfair?

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