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HEALTH bosses have blasted Covid sceptics who sneak into hospitals to film videos of 'empty' wards and claim the pandemic is exaggerated.
Coronavirus deniers and anti-lockdown activists have posted fake footage from dozens of hospital locations on social media, insisting they're deserted despite Covid patient numbers soaring to a record high.
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Hospitals have to separate Covid patients and cancel non-urgent care to free space, meaning some areas may appear empty.
Top health officials slammed conspiracy theorists sharing the footage for risking people's lives by insisting the pandemic is a hoax.
One Facebook group sharing pictures and videos of empty hospitals has more than 13,000 members.
Its administrators are apparently linked to another Facebook group peddling the 'Great Reset' conspiracy about the pandemic, the BBC reports.
In one shocking incident last month, a doctor said he was "disgusted but mostly heartbroken" after a group of conspiracy theorists stood outside St Thomas' Hospital in London shouting the pandemic is a "hoax".
It comes as Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned the NHS faces the "most dangerous situation" in its history.
Yesterday, Covid cases leapt by more than 50,000 for the 13th day in a row as deaths rose by 563 – pushing the total number of victims to more than 81,000.
There are now 3,072,349 people infected with the disease in the UK, with hospitals treating 50 per cent more Covid patients than during April's peak.
Last week, Sir Simon Stevens, England's Chief Executive of the NHS, launched a furious attack on Covidiots filming inside 'empty" hospitals, branding their footage "a lie".
He said: "If you sneak into a hospital in an empty corridor at 9pm at night and film that particular corridor, and then stick it up on social media and say this proves the hospitals are empty and the whole thing is a hoax, you are responsible for potentially changing behaviour that will kill people.
"It is also an insult to the nurse coming home from 12 hours in critical care having worked her guts out under the most demanding and trying of circumstances."
One video viewed thousands of times on social media claims to show an empty Croydon University Hospital and insists the government is exaggerating the Covid crisis.
The person filming walks outside the A&E waiting room, saying. "Urgent treatment – empty. Look at this place."
A spokesman for Croydon Health Services NHS Trust told the BBC: "Regarding the A&E waiting area, the video shows only the entrance to the department.
"Patients brought in by ambulance, or those in a serious condition or requiring admission to hospital, are unlikely to be waiting in this area.
"Perpetuating myths and rumours only undermines their [NHS staff] hard work.
"It also risks the spread of misinformation, which could lead people to risk their own health and the health of their loved ones."
The footage starts next to a coffee shop in the main reception area, with the man filming saying: "I've never seen this place so empty."
Perpetuating myths and rumours only undermines their [NHS staff] hard work
The Croydon Health Services spokesman added: "We have a one-way system in the main entrance to help with social distancing when entering or leaving the hospital.
"The video shows this person arriving via the exit.
"The video was also filmed overnight, when the coffee shops would be closed and when we would expect to see our corridors less busy.
"We provide this care in our wards and in other clinical areas – not corridors or waiting rooms."
Other videos posted on Twitter show a person walking down corridors at the Princess Royal Hospital in Bromley and claiming they are 'empty'.
Four clips show someone passing a sign for the critical care unit and a Twitter thread referring to "spare beds" and the "closed bereavement unit".
A hashtag encourages people to "film your hospital".
But the bereavement suite shuts at 4pm and on bank holidays.
A spokesman for King's College NHS Trust said: "This corridor is not representative of what is happening in wards across the hospital, which have seen a more than ten-fold increase in Covid admissions in the space of a month."
Last month, a 46-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence following reports of video filming at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said: "The woman has been bailed to return to police on 21 January, with conditions that she cannot enter any NHS premises or the grounds of any such premises, unless in the case of an emergency or to attend a pre-arranged NHS appointment."
And West Mercia police launched an investigation after reports of peopleentering hospitals to film.
Last month, security officials at Colchester Hospital removed people taking photos of supposedly empty corridors.
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