Hospital serving Boris Johnson’s constituency has closed to emergency admissions due to a coronavirus outbreak.
Seventy staff members are isolated after the outbreak at Hillingdon Hospital, in west London, and the Accident and Emergency department has been placed on formal “divert” to other hospitals.
The hospital is the second to close its doors to patients following a major outbreak .
In May, Weston General Hospital in Somerset closed to new admissions for almost three weeks after more than 100 staff became infected.
The outbreaks come amid increasing concern that the spread of coronavirus within hospitals has slowed efforts to ease Britain’s lockdown, with cases “leaking” into communities.
Modelling by Public Health England suggests that up to nine in 10 nurses and doctors who caught Covid-19 during the peak of the pandemic picked it up in hospital. It also suggests one in five patients who got the virus became infected on wards.
Scientists have warned that a lack of physical distancing between staff – not just on wards, but also in canteens, offices, and corridors – could be fuelling the spread of disease.
A spokesman for Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “An outbreak of Covid-19 was declared on Friday July 3, 2020. As of Tuesday July 7, 70 members of staff are now isolating, a number of whom have tested positive for Covid-19.
“As a result, the Trust has taken the precautionary decision to close Hillingdon Hospital to emergency ambulances and emergency admissions. The Trust is managing the outbreak in line with Public Health England guidance.”
The hospital serves the Prime Minister’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, and Mr Johnson sent a video message to staff at the hospital to mark International Nurses’ Day in May.
He thanked them for their care when he had been “idiotic enough to get a shard of coffee pot in my foot”.