BBC Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley pleads for help as sister with learning difficulties is in hospital with Covid

Jo Whiley's sister Frances (right), who has learning difficulties and diabetes, is in hospital with coronavirus. Credit: PA

DJ Jo Whiley has been pleading for help after her sister with learning difficulties and diabetes was admitted to hospital with coronavirus.

The BBC Radio 2 DJ tweeted in the early hours of Friday asking for advice on how she could get oxygen into her sister Frances, who cannot tolerate nasal cannulas or CPAP masks.

Whiley tweeted: "URGENT. Anyone in the LD (learning disability) community or any Covid doctors know how we can get oxygen into my sister. We cannot sedate her enough to get nasal cannula/cpap mask on her and I can’t believe she’s the only learning disabled person to not tolerate masks. Or maybe she is??"

Whiley's younger sister Frances, 53, who has the Cri du Chat genetic syndrome, caught the virus after an outbreak at the care home she was living in.

On Thursday, the 55-year-old radio presenter announced she would miss her BBC Radio 2 show as her sister was taken to hospital.

She wrote on Twitter: "I can’t do my BBC Radio 2 show this evening.

"My sister Frances is very poorly in hospital with Covid. I don’t feel shiny or happy tonight, I feel very scared. However I’ll be listening to Will Young who I know will light up our kitchen in the depths of our darkness."

In a second tweet, she added: "Ps. Things we’ve learnt. Get yourself an oximeter - they are vital for exposing dangerously low oxygen levels which you can have even though you feel fine with Covid."

Earlier this week, Whiley revealed she was offered the Covid vaccine before her vulnerable sister, and could not understand why that was.

She said she would give up her vaccine to her sister “in a heartbeat” if she could.

She told Radio 4's Today Programme at the time that she was "living through a nightmare" and that the effect on her sister's mental health was "quite extreme".

The DJ has been campaigning for her sister to be prioritised for the jab and said people with learning disabilities are often neglected.

As more than 16.4 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, the vaccine rollout is opening up to more priority groups.

The government initially targeted the top four priority groups, including people over the age of 70, the clinically extremely vulnerable and frontline health and social care staff.

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