Labour MP for Tooting Rosena Allin-Khan has declared that the confusing “mixed messaging” issued by Boris Johnson during his daily coronavirus press briefings will “cost lives”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, the deputy leadership contender and A&E doctor shared her experience of working a shift in a South London NHS hospital over the weekend.
Allin-Khan urged the public to stay at home in order to support NHS workers to save the greatest number of lives, and suggested that the country was “headed for disaster” if people didn’t comply with social distancing advice.
The Labour deputy leadership hopeful said: “Very soon heart-wrenching, unenviable choices will need to be made about whose life can be saved in the event that we don’t have enough ventilators.”
She added: “I will support whatever is going to save the most number of lives… If that means full lockdown, I will support it. We must trust our experts on the best way to contain this.
“But if we look at the fact that we are approximately two weeks behind Italy, we are headed for a disaster if people do not heed the advice on social distancing.
“And the Prime Minister just simply said yesterday he wants people to enjoy themselves outside while also trying to say that people should stay two metres apart outdoors. This relaxed-style, mixed messaging will cost lives and I believe people are struggling to follow guidelines because they’re just not clear.”
The comments from the Tooting MP followed her shift at St George’s Hospital, during which she recorded a diary where she described how “some of the sickest patients” have been in their 30s and early 40s.
She told listeners that A&E had been so busy with Covid-19 patients that others with serious health issues had to be moved to the paediatric emergency department to be treated.
Allin-Khan stressed that “we are scared that we are going to lose patients and added that the hospital must have the “personal protective equipment that we need to keep us safe”.
She urged the public to “practice social distancing measures properly” and said that “the public have to make this easier” for NHS staff.
She also tweeted that Downing St could be “guilty of gross negligence”, following allegations that Dominic Cummings had been pushing for the ‘herd immunity’ strategy – an approach that experts now say would have led to 250,000 deaths.
The latest coronavirus press conference delivered by Johnson took place yesterday afternoon, in which he said that “tougher measures” could be taken if people fail to practice social distancing.
The total number of coronavirus cases in London currently stands at 2,189, more than in any other region, while there are 5,683 recorded cases in the UK overall.