Coronavirus: Isle of Wight visitors urged to self-isolate

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image copyrightMark Pilbeam
image captionIsle of Wight NHS Trust has been identified by researchers as "extremely vulnerable" to coronavirus pressures

Visitors to the Isle of Wight should quarantine themselves for at least a week on arrival, island leaders have said.

The precaution would help the "isolated" region to cope with coronavirus cases, island MP Bob Seely and council leader Dave Stewart said.

They urged visitors to stay away.

The island is one of five NHS areas at risk of being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases, researchers have previously said.

Academics at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science said the five so-called "hospital deserts", including Northumberland, Powys, Rutland and Suffolk, were "extremely vulnerable" due to their elderly populations and relatively small number of hospital beds.

image copyrightNichola Roe / Isle of Wight Council
image captionIsle of Wight MP Bob Seely (left) and island council leader Dave Stewart urged second home-owners to stay away

Isle of Wight Council leader Dave Stewart said some second home-owners could have travelled to the island to escape areas with more cases of the virus.

He said: "Please respect the safety of our island community and... self-isolate for at least seven days, but preferably for 14 days, from your arrival."

Mr Seely said the government had advised people not to visit their second homes to avoid spreading the virus to more isolated parts of the country.

He added: "We need to do what we can to make sure our NHS is not overwhelmed. You should be self-isolating for at least a week once you arrive."

In a statement, Isle of Wight NHS Trust said people should follow national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation.

Chief executive Maggie Oldham said: "This will help to protect the most vulnerable people in our community and ensure that the NHS can cope."

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