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Council Leader reacts to Tier 4 this Christmas

Published Monday 21 December, 2020
Last updated on Monday 21 December, 2020

“Planning at all levels of government becomes a difficult task when the messages and instructions keep changing so radically.

“At the end of last week, we started to send out letters to all households, further encouraging people to comply with Tier 3 restrictions. And then on Saturday we were catapulted into a hitherto unheard-of Tier 4. I hope those who received a letter will understand that they are now out of date, as are many of our other public notices.

“The Tier 4 is said to have been made necessary by the new variant strain about which we in Swale Council had heard nothing until it was announced by the Health Secretary in parliament. It has hit Kent in particular.

“Sadly, infection rates in Swale continue to rise, though not at the same rate as in other places and we are, now, not referred to as the “number one” in the country. Having said that, the situation is critical, and I can not only implore people to follow the guidelines but, in fact, if possible, go even further than the regulations to try to control the virus.

“We are asked to stay at home, get exercise of course, but only meet one person in an outdoors setting. I went for a walk to a park on Sunday afternoon and I have to say that that message had clearly not registered with most people. Regulations will only bring this virus down if we willingly comply.

“Because of our high rate of infection, asymptomatic testing has been introduced into Swale before other parts of the county in the KCC area of public health administration. This is obviously a good step forward. KCC tell us there will be a testing site in Sittingbourne in the New Year.

“The NHS is also starting a programme of vaccination, using the delicate Pfizer vaccine and we look forward to vaccination being rolled out in the months ahead.

“This is not the sort of Christmas that we want, and we must do our best to look forward to better times, but until then, we must do all we can to save lives. Infection comes from close human contact and so we must wear our masks and socially distance. That is the main way to defeat this virus.”