Television doctor Dr Ranj Singh has pleaded for people to stay at home during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The medic from Medway, who presents the children’s TV programme Get Well Soon and is a regular on the ITV show This Morning, has recorded a new public information video for the government which went live this weekend.
Speaking to KentOnline and kmfm he said: “I don’t mean to sound alarming but the situation is really serious. In fact, you could go as far as to describe it as critical.”
The doctor, who works in a children’s intensive care unit at a London hospital, added: “This new variant is spreading 50 to 70% faster than the one we had in 2020.
“In some areas one in 30 are infected and one in three of those don’t actually show any symptoms so they could be walking around and passing the virus on to vulnerable people who can become extremely unwell and end up in hospital and possibly even pass away.”
He pleaded: “Myself and all my colleagues on the frontline are urging all members of the public to protect yourselves, protect each other and reduce the pressure on the NHS. That is the only way we are going to get out of lockdown.”
Dr Ranj, 41, said even though hospitals had expanded capacity by up to 300% they were still unable to provide intensive care to everyone who needed it and the situation was having a knock-on effect on other services.
He said: “Even in my own hospital, intensive care units are filling up.
“Please take this seriously and listen to the people working on the frontline. They have no reason to lie to you. They are telling you that things are bad. The NHS is under extreme pressure right now, so stay home as much as you can.
“Only leave your home if you really, really have to and if you do, protect yourself and others around you as best you can; wash your hands; use a face covering and keep your distance from other people.
“We are all in this together. We all have a part to play.”
He was given his first injection of the vaccine last week as a frontline health worker.
The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant said: “Other than a sore arm for 24-hours and feeling a little groggy, which is expected after any vaccine, I feel fantastic and very fortunate.”
He added: “I would urge everybody out there to have the vaccine if you are eligible, especially if you are from a minority ethnic community or a black community who we know are at a greater risk. It is even more important for us to have it.”
According to the new infographic:
* In a street with just a couple of hundred people living on it, at least six people could have Covid-19.
* On the average person’s social media account, 11 of their followers could have the virus.
* At a full Wembley Stadium, that would be equivalent to 3,000 fans.
Dr Ranj said: “Please don’t risk contracting or passing on the virus. Stay home as much as possible. I know it is tough and we are bored with the guidelines but on behalf of my colleagues in the NHS, please stay at home this weekend.
“I can see it in my hospital, staff are struggling to cope with the amount of care needed to be given to more and more patients suffering from this terribly debilitating virus.
“If you are going out to exercise, please do so as locally as possible, never exercise with more than one person from another household and always keep two metres distance. If you have to go to the shops, go alone, wear a face mask when indoors and washing your hands before and afterwards.
“We all need to be vigilant – meeting someone in your supermarket who’s pushed the same trolley or held the same basket could well have coronavirus.”
His plea came after Kent Police released details of the fines they had imposed last week on the public who had breached lockdown regulations.
The only reasons you should leave your house are:
* Shop for basic necessities for you or a vulnerable person.
* Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
* Exercise with your household (or bubble) or one other person.
* Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
* Seek medical assistance (including getting a Covid-19 test or to receive a Covid-19 vaccine) or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
* Attend education or childcare for those eligible.
Watch the infographic here