KCC Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark warns of second Covid-19 spike in Kent


By Ciaran Duggan Journalist on local democracy

A public health boss has warned of the risk of a second wave of coronavirus in the county.

Kent County Council (KCC) Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark said he was sincerely concerned about the possibility of a second spike amid the growing number of cases in Europe and the UK .

Efforts are made to prevent second wave of virus cases

Public Health England recently said that the rate of coronavirus infection in Kent – what’s known as the ‘R’ number – climbed above one for the first time since the lockdown restrictions eased in June.

The latest data – released this week – also shows the total number of Covid-19 cases in Kent since the start of the pandemic stands at 9,317, including 1,102 at Medway.

Mr Scott-Clark said: “We are concerned about a second peak so we have to do everything we can to minimize this. ”

His comments were made during a virtual public meeting of the KCC review committee as several advisers interviewed Mr. Scott-Clark and his healthcare colleagues, including KCC cabinet member Cllr Clair Bell ( Con), on preparing the county for possible future peaks.

Academic papers seen by Mr Scott-Clark show that only around 10% of the UK population have contracted coronavirus. The infection rate in Kent has been equivalent to 519 per 100,000 population and 395 for Medway, since March.

Kent's Covid-19 test centers process approximately 1,000 tests per day
Kent’s Covid-19 test centers process around 1,000 tests per day

Efforts to prevent a resurgence include powers given to county councils to impose local lockdowns while Covid testing capacity has been boosted. The regional sites of Ebbsfleet Station, Ashford and Manston Airport handle more than 1,000 tests per day.

Mr Scott-Clark said: ‘We have to be clear that Covid is not gone, it is out there and in circulation and it wants to jump between us because it has to do that to continue its life cycle and that is what we need to break.

“Other countries that have come out of lockdown very quickly, some states in America, Australia right now with New South Wales and Victoria, and parts of Japan have actually seen an increase in cases. ”

Closer to home, Aberdeen was forced into Scotland’s first local closure on Wednesday due to a cluster of 54 cases surrounding a single pub. This means that its 228,000 residents face restrictions that have forced pubs, hotels and restaurants to close.

Leicester’s hospitality sector was denied the opportunity to reopen on July 4, but pubs and restaurants reopened on Monday for the first time in months.

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