Plea for social distancing to 'save lives'

The NHS across the North East is appealing to everyone to play their part in reducing the spread of coronavirus.

The region's Medical Director, Professor Chris Gray, told ITV Tyne Tees that the practice of social distancing - avoiding unnecessary contact with others - is a 'life saving intervention' at this time.

Prof Gray also said is the 'duty' of people who are fit and well to look out for those more severely affected by the outbreak.

Professor Gray outlined a range of measures being taken across the region to deal with coronavirus: These include:

  • Freeing up a third of hospital beds to take in the most seriously ill patients

  • Scaling back on planned surgery

  • Restrictions on hospital visiting

  • Replacing face-to-face appointments with telephone or video consultations

Professor Gray acknowledged there had been delays in the arrival of personal protective equipment for medical staff and said deliveries were expected soon.

Describing the current situation as 'unprecedented', he thanked communities and businesses for supporting health and social care workers, and urged them to continue.

You can watch Professor Gray's full interview with Helen Ford here: