The government has announced Luton will be moved into the coronavirus tier 2 measures this week.
The Bedfordshire town is one of several places to be moved into the higher tier of restrictions, known as High Alert status, from midnight on Friday (30/10).
The move is in response to a surge in local cases, with infections and admissions to Luton and Dunstable Hospital rising in the last few weeks.
Oxford, Hull, Derby and Staffordshire are among other areas also being escalated to Tier 2, following an announcement by the government’s Health Secretary earlier today (29/10).
A joint statement from Leader of Luton Council, Hazel Simmons MBE, and Lucy Hubber, Luton’s Interim Director of Public Health said the council accepted it.
They said, “We have had confirmation today that Luton will move into the government’s ‘high-alert’ level, with new restrictions introduced after a continued surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Infections are continuing to rise across the town, with a hugely worrying increase in confirmed positive cases in the over 60s who are much more vulnerable to the disease.
“Sadly we are also seeing admissions to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital rising and tragically Covid-19 related deaths in our communities. While Luton’s infection rates are still lower than some areas of the country, the current trajectory makes it clear that action is needed now in order to contain the spread of the virus.
“Reluctantly, due to the evidence, we have accepted the position of moving up to tier 2.”
Restrictions being imposed include rules that people must not meet with people they don’t live with in an indoor space, unless they are part of your support bubble or an essential carer, and in any outdoor space, people must not meet with people they don’t live with in groups over 6.
Luton Borough Council have also announced they have agreed with the government that there will be a review every 14 days on whether the town can move back down to the tier 1 Medium level if case number increases can be stopped.
In addition, there will also be a £3 per head of population funding to support with the public health response, including increased local testing capacity, local test and trace and tier 2 business support as recently announced by the chancellor, with more details on increased testing, additional support for businesses and how this can be accessed to be announced in the coming days.
The statement continued, “We do not want to report week on week more deaths in the community before we take action, and one of our conditions to the government is that we want regular reviews which will enable us to come out of high-alert if we bring our infections down.
“We are confident our communities will pull together like they always do and give us a great chance of moving back to medium-alert so we don’t get stuck with these restrictions which will impact on our businesses and communities.
“We can only do this with the continued support of our communities – and now more than ever we are asking for your help to act together and follow the guidelines.”