Original article from Kent Live
Most parts of Kent have seen their infection rates fall once again ahead of May 17.
Next Monday marks the next significant reopening of society in England in Stage 3 of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
From next week groups of up to 30 can meet outdoors, while groups of up to six people will be allowed to meet indoors.
This means that hundreds of pubs and restaurants across Kent will be able to open for the first time this year.
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COVID infection rates have fallen in seven of Kent's 13 districts, according to the latest government data.
Two of those areas – Dover and Sevenoaks – have seen their rates slashed by a huge amount.
Sevenoaks has seen the biggest drop of all, with the region's infection rates dropping from 24.0 per 100,000 people to just 10.8 in the space of seven days: a fall of more than 55 per cent.
Similarly Dover witnessed a big reduction in infections, falling from 19.5 cases per 100,000 on May 2 to just 11.0 by May 9.
Infections countrywide have plateaued in the mid-to-low 20s per 100,000 people since mid-April, indicating that the steady lockdown easing and vaccination efforts are working as hoped.
Thanet is the only area to be above the national average over the past seven days, having seen its infection rates more than double to 30.3 in the last week.
Despite this, it means almost every area remains below the target rate of 25 set by Kent's Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark, who said it was a level he would feel "comfortable" with to proceed with further lockdown easing.
Kent's latest COVID infection rates
From left to right, the list below reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to May 9; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to May 9; rate of new cases in the seven days to May 2; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to May 2.
Areas in bold have seen an increase.
Thanet, 30.3, (43), 14.1, (20)
Dartford, 18.6, (21), 15.1, (17)
Gravesham, 15.0, (16), 16.8, (18)
Swale, 14.0, (21), 13.3, (20)
Medway, 13.3, (37), 10.1, (28)
Ashford, 13.1, (17), 7.7, (10)
Maidstone, 11.6, (20), 14.5, (25)
Dover, 11.0, (13), 19.5, (23)
Canterbury, 10.9, (18), 13.3, (22)
Tunbridge Wells, 10.9, (13), 9.3, (11)
Sevenoaks, 10.8, (13), 24.0, (29)
Tonbridge and Malling, 9.1, (12), 9.8, (13)
Folkestone and Hythe, 8.0, (9), 9.7, (11)