The whole of Kent and Medway will emerge from a month of national restrictions on 3rd December and be designated a Tier 3 area. That’s the highest level of Covid alert denoting that the risk of Covid transmission is ‘Very High’.

The news is disappointing but it reflects the stark reality of Covid transmission statistics in the County. You may have seen reports that Swale currently has the highest infection rate in England with 569 cases per 100,000 people and Thanet sits at third highest with 510 cases per 100,000 people. The latest data from Public Health England also shows areas like Medway and Gravesham are now far above the UK infection rate average. Here in Dartford, we saw a significant rise in recent weeks and although some measures are now heading in a better direction we cannot be complacent. 

Without a change in the direction of the transmission rate, more cases will spread and local NHS hospitals will come under extreme pressure to deliver not just Covid treatment, but the care that is crucial for ALL conditions and ALL patients. Our local hospital, Darent Valley, is not yet amongst those in Kent facing the greatest pressure and we must keep it that way. 

If we respect and love the NHS, now is the time to protect it.

Dartford Borough Council is well prepared to assist local people through the weeks ahead but the people of Dartford have a huge part to play in the lead up to Christmas. The dedicated scientists and medical experts who are guiding us through this unprecedented health emergency have made clear that the loosening of restrictions during Christmas week, whilst hugely beneficial for everyone’s wellbeing and family cohesion, carries a risk that cases may rise again in response. We can all lessen that impact by following the guidelines and complying with the simple ‘Hands, Face, Space’ messages now and in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

We will also be redoubling our efforts to support the local economy and businesses, particularly those smaller businesses which have been hit hard.  

Please be reassured that our council continues to be here to support vulnerable people and families facing genuine emergencies just as we have since Spring. If you are vulnerable you should have no hesitation in contacting us.  You are part of a community, our community, and we are here to help. 

Thank you. 

Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council