Luton added as "an area of concern" on Covid watchlist

Luton has been added as 'an area of concern' on watchlist Credit: ITV News Anglia

It's been announced that Luton has been added as an 'area of concern' on the Public Health England watchlist because of a relatively high number of Covid-19 cases.

Luton currently has the highest rate per 100k in the Anglia region - and cases have risen by 6% in the last 7 days.

Areas of concern are the focus of targeted actions to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, for example receiving additional testing in care homes and increased community engagement with high-risk groups.

The effectiveness of the 10pm curfew on pubs has been questioned amid concern it encourages people to gather in crowds outside. Credit: PA

It comes as the Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock defended the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues in England, despite growing criticism.

Mr Hancock said: "The scientific advice is that the people who are closer together are more likely to spread the virus, and later at night social distancing becomes harder.

"We've all seen the pictures of people leaving pubs at 10 o'clock but otherwise they would have been inside the establishments and we all know that outside is safer, or they'd be leaving later.

He warned of a "long winter ahead", with coronavirus cases elsewhere across the UK experiencing a "significant rise".

But early results from the largest Covid-19 study in England suggest measures "were beginning to work", Mr Hancock said, with the growth of infection appearing to slow.