Wales

Coronavirus: NHS staff fear second wave after VE Day parties

bunting overlooking Ton Pentre Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Doctors fear VE Day street parties could spark a second wave of coronavirus cases in Wales

NHS staff have said they feel "stabbed in the back" by people breaking lockdown guidelines to hold VE Day street parties in Wales.

People were advised not to hold public gatherings to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe.

However, some scenes of celebrations and parties have been criticised by NHS staff treating coronavirus patients.

"I'm worried that in ten days' time we're right back to where we started," said one intensive care doctor.

Ami Jones, of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, was working for the Wales Air Ambulance on Friday.

Image caption "It's disappointing because I really thought the message was starting to get through," said Dr Jones

She said the parties she witnessed not only put emergency staff lives at risk but increased the possibility of a second peak of coronavirus cases.

"I was disappointed but not surprised by what I saw, I even had to walk through some parties to reach patients," she said.

"I'm sure there was alcohol involved and police have had to intervene, which has put their lives at risk. My colleagues in A&E said it was very busy over that period.

"It's disappointing because I really thought the message was starting to get through that this is serious and staying home was important.

"But it seems that any discussion about lockdown being lifted a little has made people think it's party time and ruined the hard work done for the last seven weeks.

"I'm sure the families of those people who [have died] would sit in their houses for the rest of their lives to have their loved ones back. It's heart-breaking.

"We still have people coming into hospital with Covid-19.

"It only takes a few parties or a few people not following guidelines and then we're back to where we started and the seven weeks of hell that we've been through mean nothing."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A street in Penygraig, Rhondda Cynon Taff, marking VE Day

A nursing sister in Swansea compared her shift on Friday night, following the VE Day celebrations, to New Year's Eve due to the number of head injuries and drunk patients.

Corrina Newman said in a social media post that front-line staff had been "stabbed in the back" and that their hard work "was a total waste of time".

Swansea Bay health board said in response they had not seen a rise in admissions to Morriston Hospital.

An intensive care consultant, who previously made a heartfelt appeal for people to obey lockdown rules after his own recovery from coronavirus, has also spoken out.

David Hepburn, from the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, posted on social media: "Just watched the conga lines/street parties on the news. We've had a few days of respite and I was starting to feel hopeful. Can't believe I was so naive."

Image caption Dr Hepburn took to social media to express his frustration and anger

Anaesthetist Ceri Lynch responded in a post: "Don't want to have to watch anyone else die when there is a chance it could have been avoided."

Dai Samuel, a consultant hepatologist, added in a separate post: "The magnitude of [a second] wave has risked turning from a typical North Sea storm to tsunami after actions in the last 24 hours."

South Wales Police said two people had been arrested in the St Thomas area of Swansea following a public incident on Friday and had broken up house parties in Townhill and the city centre on Saturday.

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