Thanet has experienced a rise in covid cases, from 9.9 per 100,000 people on May 4 to 30.3 per 100,000 up to May 11. The UK rate is 23.8.
But the number of people dying with covid cited as a cause is not rising with no deaths recorded between May 3-May 15.
Data recorded for East Kent Hospitals Trust – responsible for main sites at QEQM Margate, WHH Ashford and Kent & Canterbury – shows just four covid in-patients across the whole trust with no-one on mechanical ventilation as of May 11.
The latest step in the roadmap out of covid restrictions takes place from tomorrow (May 17).
Indoor hospitality can reopen and indoor entertainment can resume, including cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas.
Up to 6 people or two households will be able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.
All remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen, such as outdoor cinemas and performances. Some larger events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances, and sports events. Restrictions on the number of attendees will remain as set out in the Roadmap.
The Transport Secretary has confirmed that international travel can begin to reopen allowing people to go on foreign holidays to ‘green’ list countries. Strict border control measures will remain in place, including pre-departure tests and a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival back in the UK.
Face coverings will no longer be needed in classrooms or for students in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges. Twice weekly home testing will remain to control infection rates.
All remaining university students will be eligible to return to in-person teaching and learning and should get tested twice a week upon return.
Up to 30 people will now be able to attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes, as well as standalone life-cycle events. These can take place outdoors or at any indoor Covid secure venue that is permitted to open. The number of people able to attend a funeral will be determined by the number that can be safely accommodated in the venue with social distancing in place.
Thirty people will be able to attend a support group or parent and child group. The limit will not apply to children under 5.
Organised adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors and saunas and steam rooms may reopen.
Care homes residents will be able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once provided they are tested and follow infection control measures. Residents will also have greater freedoms to leave their home without having to isolate on their return.
Indian covid variant
However, the emergence of another strain of the virus – first identified in India – means the programme of second jabs for those in the 9 priority groups is being brought forward to 8 weeks after the first vaccination rather than 12 weeks.
The variant is most prevalent in the north east, with some cases detected in London, and has also resulted in surge testing in areas such as Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen.
Data on the B1.617.2 variant published by PHE shows the number of cases across the UK has risen from 520 last week to 1,313 cases this week.
At the most recent covid briefing Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the latest restriction lifting would go ahead but, in terms of lifting the remaining restrictions on June 21, he added: “If the virus is significantly more transmissible, we are likely to face some hard choices.”
Current data, he said, showed: “no evidence to suggest our vaccines will be less effective in protecting people against severe illness and hospitalisation.”
Health services across the UK have now administered a total of 56,677,012 million vaccines between 8 December and 15 May, including 36,573,354 million people with their first dose (69.4%) and 20,103,658 million with their second (38.2%).
The vaccines have been rolled out to those in their 30s. Covid vaccination clinics through the Kent Community Health Trust have resumed at the Thanet Saga site. A GP hub also runs from the site. Clinics are also being run at various GP Surgeries.