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Day-trippers flock to coast as temperatures climb

Local authorities across the South East are reporting high numbers of visitors to coastal resorts as temperatures climb.

Car parks at Camber Sands, near Hastings, are already full, prompting Rother District Council to urge people to stay away.

Packed train
BBC

Civic officials want to avoid a repeat of scenes in May when chaos ensued when day-trippers flocked to the popular resort, causing gridlock to local roads.

Trains to resorts, including Whitstable, were packed, with standing-room-only available in some carriages.

Meanwhile in Kent, Thanet District Council said beaches and bays in the area, including Botany Bay, were "reaching capacity".

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Two men taken to hospital after stabbing

Two men were taken to hospital after being stabbed in Maidstone.

The pair, aged in their 30s and 40s, were injured at about 20:40 BST on Thursday in Tonbridge Road, Kent Police said.

The men were taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged.

A police spokesman said investigators were trying to establish what led up to the incident, and they appealed for information.

Coastal erosion: Landslide leaves house hanging over Kent cliff
Coastal erosion had undermined the cliff on the Isle of Sheppey, experts say.

No coronavirus deaths in South East in latest figures

Coronavirus
BBC

NHS England has announced there were no deaths from coronavirus in hospitals in the South East in the 24-hour period up to 16:00 BST on Tuesday.

Cases are only included when the positive Covid-19 test result is received, or death certificate confirmed with Covid-19 mentioned, NHS England said.

These figures do not include deaths outside hospital, including those in care homes.

Across England's hospitals 14 deaths were linked to positive coronavirus tests, with the Midlands seeing nine deaths and the North East and Yorkshire three.

Man dies in Dover house fire

A man has died and a woman was injured in a house fire in Dover overnight, Kent Fire and Rescue Service said.

Four fire crews were called to the fire in Primrose Road at about 22:25 BST on Thursday.

A man was pronounced dead at the scene and a woman was taken to hospital by the South East Coast Ambulance Service, Kent Police said.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, a police spokesman said.

Virtual GP consultations rise amid pandemic

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

Person on phone
Getty Images

Virtual health consultations run by GPs could be a long term legacy of the coronavirus crisis, a Kent health official has said.

Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group accountable officer Wilf Williams said there has been a “major uptick” in patients across the county being seen by their local doctors on the phone or via video calls.

Mr Williams said the technological revolution had been largely welcomed by patients, but members of Kent County Council’s (KCC) health and overview scrutiny committee (HOSC) disagreed during a public meeting.

Maidstone county councillor Dan Daley (Con), who said he has been unable to see his doctor in person since March, quizzed the senior health manager on the likelihood of allowing patients back into GP surgeries in the near future.

Speaking during the virtual council meeting, he said: “Physical contact between a doctor and their patient is an essential part of the service.

“When surgeries or individual medical centres are going to reopen properly is something that a lot of people will want to know.”

However, Mr Williams said that thousands of Kent health staff are less keen on seeing their patients in person unless it is deemed necessary.

Mr Williams, who has been in his post since February soon before Kent’s eight CCGs merged into one, said: “I don’t think we can give a date when everybody can go back and see their doctor as normal.

“I would hazard to say, although I understand the issues of access to technology for some people, that we do not want to go back to that.”

Mr Williams pointed out that some GP surgeries do not have the space to cater for social distancing while adding that staff safety is paramount as the virus is more likely to transmit indoors and in confined spaces than outside.

NHS chief: 'No guaranteed second coronavirus wave'

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

A second coronavirus wave is not guaranteed to take place in Kent this autumn, says a senior NHS official.

Wilf Williams, the chief accountable officer of the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said he had been “broadly reassured” due to the declining case numbers but also warned the public against complacency.

Testing facility
Getty Images

His comments came shortly after members of Kent County Council’s (KCC) health overview and scrutiny committee (HOSC) said they were worried about a rapid rise of Covid infections from September.

Speaking during a virtual public meeting, Mr Williams said: “Any talk of a second wave being in September is an estimation rather than inevitability.”

The senior NHS manager, who was installed in post in February ahead of the integration of Kent and Medway’s health service, said the county was in a much better position for managing future coronavirus outbreaks.

More than 1,500 people have died from coronavirus in Kent and Medway, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 7 July.

Testing capacity has grown significantly and data collection has massively improved in hospitals and care homes, KCC’s HOSC committee was told.

Two regional testing sites have been set up in Ashford and Ebbsfleet, with another planned at Manston.

Kent Test to be delayed until October

Sue Nicholson

BBC News

Classroom
Reuters

Kent County Council has approved plans to delay the Kent Test - often referred to as the 11-plus - by about one month as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on schools and pupils.

The grammar school entrance exam will now take place on Thursday 15 October for pupils who attend a Kent school and from Saturday 17 October for all other students.

Parents in Kent will also be offered two additional preferences on their child’s secondary school application this year, an increase from four to six, to account for the later release of Kent Test results.

More than 17,000 pupils have registered for the test this year, the council said.

6 hospital deaths reported in England

Daniel Wainwright

BBC England Data Unit

NHS England has reported six deaths of people with Covid-19 in hospitals in its latest daily figures.

The numbers are usually lower on Mondays than other weekdays because of weekend reporting lags.

However, along with yesterday's eight, this is only the second time since daily reports started being published in April that the England hospital death statistic has been a single digit.

One death was recorded at each of Northamptonshire Healthcare, Rotherham, Countess of Chester Hospital and East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trusts and two at Buckinghamshire Heathcare NHS Trust.

Chart showing hospital deaths by date of death
BBC