Original article from Kent Live
The first major easing of coronavirus restrictions in Kent signifies a step in the right direction.
After three months in lockdown and a year of restrictions there is now a roadmap in place to take us back to normality.
While infection rates are down dramatically from where they were at the beginning of the year, districts and neighbourhoods across Kent have seen small increases over the last few weeks.
And some 39 Kent neighbourhoods now have coronavirus infection rates above the national average, which currently stands at 56 infections per 100,000 people.
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Of the 13 districts in Kent, only three had no neighbourhoods above this marker in the week to March 24.
Canterbury, which only a couple of weeks ago had one of the lowest infection rates in the country, now has eight areas with new infections tracking above the national average.
In Swale, the neighbourhood of Sheppey East has an infection rate of 335.0 per 100,000 people – the highest in Kent and one of the highest across the south east.
It’s not the first time Sheppey East has recorded an alarming rate – back in December the neighbourhood had the highest infection rate in the UK.
It’s not all worrying news though, three Kent districts with no neighbourhoods above the national average provide hope for us all.
The easing of restrictions today (March 29) has allowed people to meet outside in groups of six with the stay at home order scrapped.
If infections and vaccinations continue to head in the right direction, the country could be free of restrictions by the middle of June.
Below you can find a breakdown of the neighbourhoods above the national average.
Dane Valley and Northdown Hill: 123.5 per 100,000
Dumpton: 71.8 per 100,000
Newington: 101.1 per 100,000
Nethercourt, Pegwell and Cliffsend: 92.1 per 100,000
Westbrook and Garlinge: 89.1 per 100,000
Minster and St Nicholas-at-Wade: 210 per 100,000
Hoath, Hersden and Littlebourne: 153.6 per 100,000
Beltinge and Bishopstone: 91.4 per 100,000
Herne and Broomfield: 82.7 per 100,000
Herne Bay Parade: 74.4 per 100,000
Sturry and Fordwich: 79.8 per 100,000
Canterbury Barracks: 67.5 per 100,000
Seasalter: 66.9 per 100,000
Whitstable West: 72.3 per 100,000
Sheppey East: 335.0 per 100,000
Minster North: 62.6 per 100,000
Teynham and Badlesmere: 67.1 per 100,000
Sittingbourne West: 73.1 per 100,000
Sittingbourne East: 58.8 per 100,00
Ringlestone & Central Maidstone: 58.4 per 100,000
Penenden Heath: 65.9 per 100,000
Grove Green: 91.6 per 100,000
Harrietsham, Hollingbourne and Lenham: 65.6 per 100,000
Tenterden & Rolvenden: 60 per 100,000
Biddenden, Smarden and High Halden: 85.3 per 100,000
Highfield and Willesborough: 66.4 per 100,000
Tunbridge Wells South: 75.5 per 100,000
Southborough West: 72.7 per 100,000
Paddock Wood and Five Oak green: 57.2 per 100,000
Tonbridge Higham Wood: 63.9 per 100,000
Capstone: 70.2 per 100,000
Rochester South East: 77.0 per 100,000
Chatham Central and Rochester Riverside: 71.2 per 100,000
Chatham Maritime: 75.7 per 100,000
Gillingham Central: 82.5 per 100,000
Westcourt: 82.5 per 100,000
Stone and Crossways: 79.7 per 100,000
Newtown: 88.9 per 100,000
Central Dartford and West Hill: 113.4 per 100,000
Heath: 145.5 per 100,000
Tonbridge and Malling
East Malling, West Malling & Trottiscliffe: 58.4 per 100,000