Read the Leader of Medway Council's latest message to residents.
Since my last message new coronavirus safety rules have come into effect to suppress COVID-19 and help keep the number of infections down. This includes the new ‘rule of six’ which means that you must not meet with people from other households in groups of more than six. However, this does not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than six or in schools or work settings.
I know this will be difficult for residents, especially as many of us felt that we were just getting back to normal but it is vital that we continue to protect everyone in our community, including our loved ones.
Back to school and university
Last week was the first full week back at school for children and young people across Medway and, as you know, we have continued to work closely with all schools to ensure our children can safely return to school. I was pleased to hear that the majority of our young people are happy to be back learning in a classroom and that attendance figures in Medway were 85 per cent, higher than the national average.
I would like to thank all school staff, headteachers, our own schools teams, parents and carers as well as Medway’s young people themselves for the resilience they have shown.
I would also like to encourage parents and carers to remind their children that, if they are travelling to school on public transport, and are aged 11 and above, they must continue to wear face coverings on their journeys to and from school. It is also vital that after school they try and stay within their bubbles. We would also encourage parents and carers to follow social distancing guidelines when picking their children up from school and ensure their child only mixes with those in their bubble. We understand that this is not an easy ask and that children and young people are excited to see their friends again but coronavirus hasn’t gone away and we all need to work together to keep Medway safe.
Students at Medway’s four universities are also starting to return to Medway. I would like to offer them a warm welcome and hope they continue to enjoy everything Medway has to offer. We know your universities have been working hard to implement a range of social distancing measures to help keep you safe.
New testing centre has opened in Rochester
As some of you may be aware, a regional drive-through COVID-19 testing site opened in Curtis Way, Rochester, earlier this month as part of the government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing.
Whilst we apologise to any residents that may be affected by the opening of the centre, it is incredibly important that anyone with symptoms books a free swab test as soon as possible. We are aware that there have been some issues in booking tests nationally and we are continuing to liaise with the Department for Health and Social Care to ensure our residents can book a test as close to home as possible.
You can book a test online at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Hands, face, space
We must all play our part to reduce the spread of the virus and keep Medway safe. You may have heard the phrase ‘hands, face, space’ this represents three simple actions we all must do to help keep each other safe.
- Wash your hands – continue to wash your hands regularly
- Cover your face – wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
- Make space – try and stay at least two metres apart, or one metre with a face covering or other precautions
Please protect yourself and others. We will get through this together.
Finally, I would like to continue to thank all of our frontline workers, NHS workers, and everyone who works in the care sector in residential and nursing homes and domiciliary care providers supporting our most vulnerable residents which is an incredibly important job.
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Medway Council