When the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Sunday he explained that, mercifully, some modest changes can now be made to the lockdown. This is partly because the pressure on our hospitals caused by high Coronavirus infection numbers is easing.
In Kent, as of last week, the number of people seriously ill with Covid-19 (and therefore requiring a ventilator bed) had halved from 110 at its highest, to 56. Furthermore, daily hospital admissions of new coronavirus patients in Kent is now in single figures and NHS staffing absences across Kent is now lower than it was previously at 5.5.%.
However, any further easing of the restrictions will only be made when the science dictates that it is safe to do so, and that no second spike in infections will occur as a result.
For me, one of the most welcome changes is that, from Wednesday this week, we will be able to undertake more outside exercise with members of our households, plus one other (provided we keep two metres apart whilst doing so). That includes playing tennis and golf, subject to individual club resolutions, and I already see from their website that the Weald of Kent course will be open from Wednesday.
Household Waste and Recycling Centres will also reopen across Kent from this Friday (15th May), including our local Maidstone site in Tovil, but a time slot must be booked online before visiting. This is another very welcome decision which follows a letter from Kent MPs to KCC Leader Roger Gough about the rise in fly tipping as a result of these site closures. Many thanks to Roger and his team for their swift action here.
Further changes will surely follow for us here in Kent, in the weeks and months ahead, but that will all be dependent on our continued collective effort to keep the transmission of the virus down.