17th August 2020

In_pictures Coronavirus: Doctor’s Luton lockdown breach ‘disappointing’

In_pictures Coronavirus: Doctor’s Luton lockdown breach ‘disappointing’


in_pictures Dr Rizan Butt with Tahir Malik

Image caption

Rizwan Butt, left, sitting beside mayor Tahir Malik, said he did not leave the gathering “for fear of offending my host”

A hospital doctor in a town with a spike in coronavirus cases has admitted joining councillors at a gathering which broke lockdown rules.

Dr Rizwan Butt can be seen in social media footage with Luton mayor Tahir Malik and councillors Asif Masood and Waheed Akbar at the large gathering.

He said it was “wrong” to stay in breach of guidance which says no more than six people can gather outside.

Luton and Dunstable Hospital described his behaviour as “disappointing”.

It added Dr Butt was on leave at the time and it had stepped up its coronavirus testing of staff.

Image copyright
Luton Borough Council

Image caption

Waheed Akbar, Asif Masood and Tahir Malik have apologised for their lockdown breach

Luton was designated as an “area of intervention” last week by Public Health England (PHE) following a rise in cases.

Shortly afterwards, pictures emerged on social media showing Mr Malik, Mr Masood and Mr Akbar attending a gathering in a garden, which Dr Butt has confirmed he also attended.

He said he was “very sorry” for staying at the event and not “sticking to the guidance, which is there for all our protection”.

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Media captionVideo shows Luton mayor breaking lockdown rules

“When I realised there were more people than I was told there would be, I should have left, but I didn’t, for fear of offending my host – this was wrong of me,” Dr Butt said.

“Since the start of this pandemic, I’ve taken every precaution at work and in my private life, and this was a momentary lapse.”

The hospital sent a statement describing the breach by “a role model in our community” as “very disappointing”.

It said: “We expect all of our staff to follow social distancing guidelines, which are there for their safety and the safety of our community.”

The councillors have apologised for breaking lockdown rules.

The council and the Labour Party have both said they are investigating.

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