Coronavirus in Chichester: Police investigate new false posts about 'empty' hospitals

Police are investigating a Covid conspiracist after she posted more images of hospitals and claimed they are empty.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 4:11 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2021, 4:14 pm

Hannah Dean, 30, was previously handed a £200 fixed-penalty notice by Hampshire Police after visiting St Richard's Hospital in Chichester and other sites, including Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

The account run under her name claims there is ‘no visual evidence of a pandemic’ in the waiting room she filmed at St Richard’s. She also made a similar false claim about Southampton General Hospital this week.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: "We are aware of this individual and the activity being carried out in local hospitals.

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, a government minister, saidNHS staff and volunteers at St Richards 'have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic'.

"There is an active investigation under way."

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, a government minister, said NHS staff and volunteers at St Richard’s 'have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic'.

She added: "For nearly a year they have been on the frontline in the fight against this virus, and I know the vast majority of people are grateful beyond words for their service.

She added: "The best way we can support our fantastic healthcare professionals is to stay home to curb the spread of the virus unless you have a medical emergency or immediate treatment need.

"Where a small minority of people fail to follow the rules without good reason, the police are empowered to take action against them. I know from my regular meetings with Sussex Police, they are doing so proportionately and diligently across our area."

Ms Dean claims to be a member of the National Union of Journalists, a trade union, but officials have said this is not the case.

She claimed: "Portsmouth police have now withdrawn the statement they made that said I had been issued with a £200 fine."

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: "The fixed penalty notice issued in relation to this occurrence has not been withdrawn."

NHS officials have previously hit out at Ms Dean and fellow conspiracists’ false claims.

As of January 19, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Richard’s, has 268 Covid patients, with 36 on mechanical ventilation.

There are 49 patients at QA Hospital in Cosham on mechanical ventilation beds receiving treatment for Covid, with 458 Covid patients in the hospital in total.