The tongue-in-cheek campaign to get Swale excluded from the country was launched by Joe Daniel who claims “Swexit” is essential so people can “go back to the pub”, reports Kent Live. Swale, which covers the towns of Sittingbourne and Faversham on the mainland and and Sheerness and Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey, has the highest infection rate in the country with with 841 new cases recorded in the seven days to November 23 – the equivalent of 560.4 cases per 100,000 people.
The change.org petition said: “In light of the news that the entire county of Kent is to be placed in Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions due to the selfishness of certain areas (Swale!) I propose a referendum removing Swale from Kent.
“We should impose a hard border with rigorous checks making Swale a third world backwater like Essex.
“Culturally the area has nothing in common with the rest of Kent and as a result the Garden of England should not be punished due to the actions of the residents of Swale.
“The rest of us need to get back to the pub. #Swexit.”
Swale Borough Council leader Roger Truelove said: “I appreciate that that is what we have to be, we have to be in Tier 3.
“I hope that that’s an incentive for local people to comply as much as possible with the guidance so we get our numbers down.
“I fully understand other boroughs that have not got such a high rate as us, but the fact is that the level of Kent is going up.
“And I think it is much better from a public health point of view if you are all in the same tier.”
Several Kent MPs wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock last Wednesday asking that different areas of the county be placed in different restrictions.
But the Government has taken a county-wide approach with all of Kent to face Tier 3.
Justifying the decision, the Government said: “Case rates are high and continuing to rise, with large increases in case rates in almost all areas in the last seven days.
“Some of the highest case rates in the country are currently seen in Kent. Rising case rates in people aged over 60 are a particular concern.
“Positivity is also increasing in 10 of the 13 lower-tier local authorities.
“Kent And Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership are reporting hospital admissions are increasing and mutual aid necessary across the county.”
(Additional reporting by John James)