Indian variant dominant in Luton as people urged to stick to the rules

  • Watch Graham Stothard's report from Luton

People in Luton are being warned to stick to the rules over covid after it emerged the Indian variant was now the dominant strain in the town.

It follows confusion over the guidance in Bedford yesterday when the Government had to clarify that the area was not in a local lockdown.

The rise in cases in Luton isn't as bad as in Bedford, but Lucy Hubber, the town's Director of Public Health, said the situation was still "worrying".

Covid marshals have been giving advice and support to businesses in Luton over how to keep covid secure. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Lucy Hubber said: "The Indian variant is now our dominant variant in Luton. We haven't quite seen the big case rises that they've seen in Bedford, but we are seeing an increase in cases.

"It's probably both due to the opening up and the changes of the Indian variant so it's worrying for us.

"We're looking at each and every case of the Indian variant and taking action as necessary. We've done some targeted testing, we're not at the point of surge testing, but we'll be keeping a close, close watch on it."

  • Lucy Hubber, Director of Public Health for Luton

Despite the rise in cases, Lucy Hubber said she didn't support a local lockdown. Instead, people should be extra careful about following the rules.

She said: "It's absolutely brilliant that we're beginning to open up now. People can see family and friends, they can meet in cafes, but it's really important we don't forget the rules.

"Hands, face, space is still absolutely critical and space is really important in that. Keeping distance from people so, you know, hug people when you see them, but then keep your distance form them.

"Remember fresh air, so eating outside is better. One of the great things about cafes and restaurants and shops is they are covid secure. So it's probably better to meet people in a cafe or shop than it is in your own home.

"Constantly changing rules makes it very difficult for people to keep up with what's expected of them.

"We know that's it difficult when you live somewhere like Luton that's very close to Dunstable and Houghton Regis to have those very hyper-local lockdowns, so we welcome the advice that people should be extra vigilant, but we're not supportive of local lockdowns at this time."

People in Luton are being warning to stick to the rules over covid because of a 'worrying' rise in cases of the Indian variant. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Luton Borough Council is using the covid marshals work with businesses. It’s less about enforcement, and more about helping them plot their course through the rest of this crisis.

Laura Church, Deputy Chief Executive of Luton Borough Council, said: "Broadly businesses have been really compliant, they're very keen to do business and they're very keen to support the initiatives that we are suggesting to them. So really good, so thank you to all those businesses actually."