Swale has second highest Covid infection rate in England

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Swale in Kent has the second highest Covid infection rate in England.

The borough, which is made up of Sittingbourne, Faversham and the Isle of Sheppey, has a rate of 634.3 cases per 100,000 people, based on data from Kent County Council.

The average figure for the county is 277.9 cases per 100,000 people.

The area with the highest Covid infection rate in England is Hull which has a rate of 754.5 cases per 100,000 people.

The Conservative MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Gordon Henderson, says "non-compliance" is part of the problem.

Non-compliance is one factor, the number of people that can't work from home is another factor, the areas of deprivation where we had people living close to each other who can't social distance is another and possibly the prisons is another factor.

Gordon Henderson MP, Sittingbourne & Sheppey, Con

The leader of Swale Borough Council, Roger Truelove, has warned that residents could face a longer period of high-level restrictions, beyond December 2, if the infection rate is not contained.

Cllr Roger Truelove said: "Before the Prime Minister introduced the new nationwide restrictions earlier this month, we were being pressed by the Government and Kent County Council to go into Tier 2, the High-Risk status, and we risk being placed in this tier when nation lockdown ends if cases continue to rise."

He added: “It’s our duty as a council to encourage and urge people to comply with the restrictions in place and to closely monitor the business community to ensure people’s safety."

Any decision about whether Swale would enter a higher tier beyond December 2, would be made by central government.

Liberal Democrat councillor Antony Hook, from Kent County Council, has criticised what he says are the "unqualified opinions" of "politicians locally and nationally".

I think public compliance and support to modify our behaviour would be much better if we could all read and understand the advice that's being given.

Cllr Antony Hook, Kent County Council, Lib Dem