Portsmouth police give out fine for social media post falsely claiming Queen Alexandra Hospital was not busy

POLICE have given out a fine after videos and images were posted of Queen Alexandra Hospital falsely claiming it was not busy with Covid-19 patients.

By Millie Salkeld
Monday, 11th January 2021, 1:16 pm

Portsmouth police confirmed today that they had identified the source of the social media posts – which were posted under an account in the name of Hannah Dean – and that the person had been handed a fixed penalty notice under coronavirus regulations.

Mark Cubbon, chief executive at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, previously branded the posts as disrespectful to staff working hard to look after Covid-19 patients.

Posts also included photos and videos from St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and Southampton General Hospital.

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A post from Portsmouth police read: ‘Some of you will have seen the reports of persons attending local hospitals, taking photos of parts of the hospital that are not on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19, and using the images to suggest are hospitals are not being stretched.

‘These actions have caused angst in the community, and have prompted a number of calls to us reporting the posts.

‘We have identified the source of the posts and have today issued a fixed penalty notice to the person responsible under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020.

‘Our colleagues across the NHS are working flat out to fight this virus, and we are all grateful for their continued efforts.

‘There has been lots of publicity this weekend about us all doing our bit to stick to the rules and guidelines to support our NHS - we urge each and everyone of you to do the same.’

Police initially said there had been no breach of Covid-19 regulations but later said it had received new information about the incident.

Recent data showed Hampshire Constabulary has handed out 567 fines for breaches of coronavirus laws between March 27 and December 20 last year.

Latest Public Health England figures show that 8,923 people in Portsmouth had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Friday.

There has been 492 deaths at Queen Alexandra Hospital since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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