Ambulance chiefs have criticised a message which has gone viral on social media as “alarmist” and urged the public to ignore it.
The message, widely shared on WhatsApp, claimed to contain information from Public Health England about the coronavirus crisis.
It featured the voice of a woman who claimed to work at the South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) and said: “As of Thursday of this week we will be hitting our peak and we will be facing 900 deaths a day.
“One third of them are going to be babies, children and teenagers with no underlying health issues.”
The message, which was dismissed as “fake news” by Public Health England, also said that ambulances would not be sent even to people who were “struggling desperately for every breath”.
It added: “Every mortuary in the UK is full. We are now sending bodies to every ice skating rink there is in the UK.”
Secamb said: “We are aware of a voice message being shared currently on social media regarding the ambulance response to coronavirus.
“The alarmist information being shared in the message is not correct.
“We would urge people to disregard the message and not share it further.
“In line with our ongoing plans during this challenging time, we are continuing to follow national guidelines regarding the ambulance response and thank the public for their ongoing support in following the government’s advice.”
The daily number of hospital deaths from the coronavirus totalled 936 in the past 24 hours, with the total reaching 7,097. Others have died elsewhere, for example, at home or in care homes and nursing homes.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, has recorded 22 deaths of people with the covid-19 coronavirus so far.
The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK rose by 5,492 to 60,733, with 153 of those in Brighton and Hove.
We are aware of a voice message being shared currently on social media regarding the ambulance response to coronavirus. The alarmist information being shared in the message is not correct. We would urge people to disregard the message and not share it further.
— SECAmb (@SECAmbulance) April 8, 2020
The number in West Sussex stood at 320 in East Sussex the number reached 229, making 702 across Sussex as a whole.