Blanket Tier 3 restrictions the 'wrong decision' for Kent, says council leader

The Leader of Kent County Council, Roger Gough, says the blanket Tier 3 restrictions for the county was the 'wrong decision'.

He was speaking after a press briefing on Friday about the implications the restrictions will have county-wide.

Roger Gough says he will continue to push for a rethink and says NHS Test and Trace and mass testing of people without symptoms is vital. He says he's confident the Government will deliver on that.

It is very damaging to the businesses. We need to ensure we do everything we can to get out of this situation as fast as we possibly can.

Roger Gough, Leader, Kent County Council

In contrast, Kent's Public Health Director, Andrew Scott-Clark, believes imposing Tier 3 was the right move.

He believes the increase in infection rates is down to people getting "tired" of the restrictions and seeking social connection. He added that many people are unable to stay at home due to their circumstances.

Thanet, Swale and Medway currently make up three of the top four areas for the highest infection rates in England.

A number of outbreaks have been in care homes and outbreaks associated with prison... The fundamental point is that only about 15% of cases in the last month have been associated with those care homes and prisons. So 85%, the vast majority of cases, are associated with community transmission.

Andrew Scott-Clark, Director, Public Health Kent

Many business owners and residents in Kent disagree with the county being placed into Tier 3 and are angry as other areas of the county, such as Tunbridge Wells, have infection rates which are below the national average.

The Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells Greg Clark says the Government has got the tier system wrong.

I think they've made the wrong call because Kent is a big county and we have very different rates of infection. Here in Tunbridge Wells, in the west of the county, it's falling towards 100 cases per 100,000 people. In other parts north of the county it's 500 per 100,000. A huge difference, but that hasn't been reflected in the tier that we are in.

Greg Clark MP, Tunbridge Wells, Con

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged frustrations felt by millions of people in England who will be living under the strictest restrictions.

He said the coronavirus tiers will be "tough for a while" but he's "optimistic that over the medium term" vaccines for Covid-19 and mass testing will "help areas to come down the tiers".

Wilf Williams from the NHS Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group says it is going to be a very tough winter but he's confident the NHS will cope.

We've got plans, we've got resources, it's challenging, but we're confident we will be able to maintain services in a safe and effective way.

Wilf Williams, NHS Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group