Covid-19 cases have reached a record high in Central Bedfordshire, while the first Omicron case has been confirmed locally.
Over the last week (week ending 8 December), new cases of Covid-19 in Central Bedfordshire have gone up by 445 to 2,179, the highest number ever recorded here (740.9 cases per 100,000) with rates currently highest among 5–10-year-olds and 40–49-year-olds.
There were five deaths in the last reporting week.
A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson said: "We have confirmed and suspected Omicron cases in Central Bedfordshire and neighbouring local authorities. If you have been following the national media, you will know that cases are being confirmed across the country daily and some of these are linked to community transmission rather than travel."
The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the rising cases and the risks of the Omicron variant.
From December 10, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings.
From December 13, office workers who can work from home should do so.
From December 15, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
The spokeswoman continued: "Vaccines remain our best line of defence and it is now more vital than ever that those who are unvaccinated come forward, and those eligible for their boosters book when called.
"The NHS has confirmed a huge expansion of the booster programme, with the National Booking Service now open to all those aged over 40 to book their jabs. The dose interval has also been shortened from six months to three months, with those eligible now able to book a month in advance – two months after their second dose."
Any children aged 12-15 that have not yet had their first Covid-19 vaccination can visit one of the following vaccination centres:
Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford SG17 5TQ
Watling House, High St North, Dunstable LU6 1LF
Bedford Heights, Manton Lane, Bedford MK41 7BJ
Redgrave Centre, 27 Redgrave Gardens, Luton LU3 3QN
Saxon Court, 502 Avebury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 3HS
Parents can book an appointment through the National Booking Service.
You can also call 119.
Anyone who has difficulty getting to the vaccine centres can book free transport through the council's Vaccine Taxi service.
Drop-in sessions are also available in Dunstable this week - find out more on the BLMK website.