Covid deniers thrown out of hospital after taking photos of empty corridors to claim virus is hoax
COVID-19 deniers were thrown out of a hospital over the weekend after taking photographs of empty corridors to claim the virus is a “hoax”, the Telegraph reports.
Security staff were forced to remove the conspiracy theorists from a hospital, where the intensive care unit is currently running at full capacity, in what has been branded ‘shocking’ and ‘awful’ behaviour.
Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said the intensive care units of both Ipswich Hospital and Colchester Hospital are “at capacity”.
He said he was “shocked” that the Covid-19 deniers had entered Colchester Hospital at the weekend and said it is “beggar’s belief” that some people were calling the pandemic a hoax.
He said that elective and outpatient appointments had been reduced for “safety reasons” to help reduce footfall at the hospital.
“We had that situation at Colchester at the weekend when we had people literally coming on site and taking photographs of empty corridors and then posting it on social media saying ‘this is all a hoax’,” Mr Hulme said, speaking to BBC Radio Suffolk.
“When you see that sort of behaviour from the public it just beggar’s belief.
“Why on earth would people do that when… we all know somebody who’s died from Covid.
“It’s extraordinary, it’s shocking, it’s awful.”
Mr Hulme added: “Well of course there are empty corridors at the weekend in outpatients because that’s the right thing to do.
“But when you’ve got that sort of social media pressure and those people denying the reality of Covid it really concerns me.
“Words fail me.”
The incident followed the arrest of anti-lockdown activist Debbie Hicks who had made her way into an outpatient ward in Gloucester Royal Hospital on 28 December and started filming.
MP for Stroud Siobhan Baillie called the incident “appalling”.
“It’s appalling that our Gloucestershire Hospital Trust had to spend their precious time during this difficult pandemic defending themselves against films on social media that were wrongly claiming the hospital is empty,” she said in the House of Commons.
Gloucester Royal Hospital has strongly refuted Hicks’ false claims that the hospital had no Covid-19 patients, noting that it was “extremely busy”.
The 46 year-old was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in relation to the video and has been bailed until later this month on condition she does not enter any NHS premises, other than for an emergency or an appointment.
Anti-lockdown protests have also continued to take place in cities across the country with police forces making multiple arrests for Covid-19 breaches.
Both Nottingham and London, which are currently under Tier 4 restrictions, faced anti-lockdown demonstrations.