Luton covid patrol Image:Bedfordshire Police

Residents across Bedfordshire are being urged to play their part in helping stop the spread of coronavirus after Luton was moved into the government’s ‘High Alert’ level.

The new measures in the town, which come into effect at 12.01am tomorrow (31 October 2020), restrict people from mixing indoors with anyone they don’t live with – unless they form part of a support bubble or are essential carers.

The rule of six still applies to all outdoor spaces.

In addition, people are being urged to limit the number of journeys they make away from home and plan ahead to avoid using public transport at busy times, and try to walk or cycle where possible.

Chief Superintendent John Murphy, from Bedfordshire Police, said:

“The action being taken in Luton is a stark reminder of how virulent and dangerous coronavirus is, and everyone needs to help stop the spread to keep us all safe and reduce pressure on the NHS.

“We’re really grateful to the vast majority of people who have been following the guidelines, and that made a real difference in driving down the rates over the summer.

“Unfortunately we are obviously seeing a real increase now, so it is vital that everyone is vigilant and adheres to the rules around social distancing, the rule of six and isolating when advised to following a positive test or exposure to those with the virus.

“We will be out patrolling alongside Luton Council’s Covid Marshalls explaining the rules, but will not hesitate to fine those who are flagrantly ignoring the guidance.”

Admissions to Luton & Dunstable Hospital are also rising

The new measures are being put in after infections continued to rise across the town. Including an increase in positive tests for over 60s – who are much more vulnerable to the virus.

Admissions to Luton & Dunstable Hospital are also rising, and there have been confirmed COVID-19 related deaths. While other parts of Bedfordshire remain on ‘Medium Alert’, everywhere is seeing an increase in infection rates.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Joint Medical Director, Paul Tisi, said:

“On the back of the increasing community infection rates, we are seeing increased numbers of patients coming into our hospitals – both the Luton & Dunstable and Bedford – who have tested positive Covid.

“This is obviously concerning.

“We now know much more about the disease, which helps us in treating patients. But, inevitably, if these rates keep going up, we will see more patients in our hospitals, and sadly, more people in our community will die.

“Please comply with the guidance and the rules. Reducing the amount of contacts you have with other people makes a massive impact on the transmission, and ultimately, it will save lives.

“We’d like to reassure the community that we, and the rest of the NHS, are open and doing everything we can to keep all our patients safe. We are here if you need us. If you have health concerns – please come forward.

“In the meanwhile, remember: Hands. Face. Space.”

Increased testing for the town is being brought in to help identify outbreaks, and Bedfordshire Police and Luton Council are teaming up to carry out enforcement patrols to check businesses and venues are COVID-compliant, and that the public is aware of, and following, the new rules.

These will also be carried out across Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire over the coming days.