Wards cleared at Luton & Dunstable and Bedford Hospitals

People are being urged to follow the government advice on staying at home as Bedfordshire prepares for the coronavirus outbreak to increase in the county.

Wards have been cleared at Luton & Dunstable and Bedford Hospitals as the NHS in Bedfordshire readies itself to deal with an increase in patients as the virus spreads.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the UK is now more than 3,600. The number of people infected in Bedfordshire is expected to rise significantly over the coming weeks.

The government has asked people to stay at home to ease the rate of the spread of the infection. Leaving for only essential tasks such as food shopping.

Dr David Kirby, deputy medical director at Luton & Dunstable Hospital, said:

“Our staff have pulled out all the stops in getting ready for the very sick patients we are expecting to see. We will do everything we can in the coming days and weeks.

“But we can’t cure this virus. The only cure is not spreading it. I implore local people to listen to the advice and play your crucial part.

“By staying at home, you are protecting your NHS and you are saving lives. Don’t be the person that spreads this potentially fatal disease.”

Bedfordshire Police has given enforcement advice to front line officers following specific training to allow them to issue fixed penalties where absolutely necessary.

Assistant chief constable Jackie Sebire said:

“We are working closely with all of our partner agencies – we all want to do everything we can to keep people safe. Our officers will be out patrolling the towns, villages, parks and open spaces this weekend to ensure people are abiding by the government advice to stay home.

“We do have the power to issue fines but we don’t want to have to resort to that tactic. I would ask that people take personal responsibility to help stop the spread of this virus in what is a public health emergency.

“Please, stay home – help ease the pressure on our NHS and save lives.”