Fury over false claims about number of Covid patients

A WOMAN has been accused of putting lives at risk by falsely claiming that Hampshire hospitals are largely free of Covid-19 patients.

Police are investigating complaints about a Facebook user posting pictures of empty corridors and citing what she describes as “fictional” accounts of the massive workload faced by staff.

University Hospital Southampton is one of the sites mentioned in the posts.

Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, said: “It’s wildly irresponsible of someone to be wandering around a hospital, filming random corridors in order to spread misinformation.

“I know hospitals are stretched to the max because of what I hear from the exhausted nurses, doctors and staff who work there.

“This type of behaviour is incredibly disheartening for them and for those who have lost loved ones to the virus.”

The posts have sparked fears that people could be lulled into a false sense of security, raising their risk of contracting the deadly virus.

Royston Smith, Tory MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “She’s putting lives at risk by suggesting they throw caution to the wind and in so doing risk infection, illness or worse.

“Our healthcare professionals are working flat out to save lives and conspiracy theorists such as this undermine everything they are doing.”

The woman has also come under fire from the hospital itself.

A spokesperson said: “University Hospital Southampton has been made aware of a post circulating on social media claiming to show the hospital is not under pressure.

“This could not be further from the truth.

“Sharing this sort of misinformation causes an incredible amount of upset and distress to our staff who are working tirelessly to care for those who are being admitted in significant numbers each day.”

The woman has also visited the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, where more than 420 people have died of Covid-19.

Mark Cubbon, chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, took to Twitter after Facebook posts showed photographs taken inside the hospital. The images were accompanied by a caption describing the building as “the quietest I have ever seen it”.

Mr Cubbon said: “Saddened to see messages on social media suggesting our wards are empty and the pressures we’re facing are fictional.”

A police spokesperson said enquiries were ongoing.

Daily Echo | News