Devon

Coronavirus: Care workers abused as 'spreaders of death'

Kirsty Grant
Image caption Kirsty Grant says the abuse has left her feeling "heartbroken"

Care workers who say they have been abused while visiting clients are being protected by a private security firm.

Carers in Torbay, Devon, have complained of being spat on and threatened by members of the public.

One of the carers, Kirsty Grant, said the abuse had made her feel "heartbroken" and "speechless".

She said she was approached by two teenagers who called her a "carrier of death" and said she should not be out on the street.

Other carers say they have had their cars vandalised and received death threats from neighbours.

Image caption Katrina Green said care workers are going to work feeling "fearful" and "anxious"

Katrina Green, director of The Bay Care Group which provides community care across Torbay, said care workers have been called "spreaders of death".

"It's quite concerning and it's really frightening for our staff, who are already going out into a frightening situation anyway."

Torbay Council, which subcontracts the care company, is paying for a security firm to protect care workers across Torbay for a couple of weeks, Ms Green told the BBC.

"Care staff are doing an amazing job and it's important that they have the support of us all," the council added.

Devon & Cornwall Police has been approached for a comment.

Platinum Security has been patrolling the area where carers are working, checking they are all right and escorting them to their cars if they feel unsafe.

"We do want this long term," added Ms Grant.

Image caption Tom Sharp from Platinum Security said the firm was trying to protect the workers

Tom Sharp from the security firm said "it's not nice" to go home and say that you are having to look after care workers.

"Let's be kind, let's everybody work together so we don't have to do this."

Ms Green said she was also "battling with government guidance" over whether care workers should be given personal protective equipment to wear.

"For us, we feel that care workers should be wearing masks on every single visit."

Care homes have been calling on the government for upgraded equipment.

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