Wednesday 16 June 2021
We’ve made great progress this year in bringing the spread of the coronavirus under control, reducing infection and hospitalisation rates, and vaccinating over 50% of all adults with both jabs of the vaccine. We’ve successfully unlocked our economy and society without seeing a significant rise in infections, but despite all that we’ve still had to delay the final lifting of all social contact restrictions until Monday 19th of July. I know this is disappointing news for everyone but is a response to the clear rise in infections across the country, as a result of the new and highly infectious Delta strain of coronavirus. Locally, there has been a small uptick in the number of infections in the last week, mainly amongst younger adults who have not yet been vaccinated. However, the overall infection rates remain very low and there have been no deaths from coronavirus amongst Folkestone and Hythe residents since early April. Elsewhere in the country, and particularly in the north west of England, the increases have been much more significant.
The Government has decided that whilst there remains a risk of these increases leading to a third spike in infection rates, it would be better to delay the lifting of all of the remaining restrictions for a few more weeks. This is principally though to allow us to complete more double vaccinations against the coronavirus. By the 19th of July a significant majority of the adult population will have received both jabs and will be protected against all known variants of the coronavirus, meaning that even if the virus is spreading, people will only require hospital treatment in exceptional circumstances. We may have to accept living alongside the coronavirus for years to come, but as long as people are vaccinated against it, we will not have to put in place social contact restrictions. The Government has confirmed as well that from the autumn everyone over the age of 50, and people of any age who are medically vulnerable, will be provided with booster jabs to protect them against further new variants of the virus.
I would like to send my congratulations to Jon Wilson for being awarded the British Empire Medal in The Queen’s Birthday Honours. Jon is the Chief Executive of the Romney Marsh Day Care Centre in New Romney, having previously run the Rainbow Centre in Folkestone. This award is well deserved for his many years of service to the local community, however it was also given in special recognition of everything he has done to support the Romney Marsh Community Hub since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The hub has been the focal point for the work of a great many volunteers who have supported older residents and those who have been shielding from the virus. I would like to thank them, and everyone in the district who have worked so hard to support their community in this difficult past year.