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‘Keep your distance to save lives’ Doc’s plea to public as she backs Express NHS campaign

However, Dr Julia Patterson, a psychiatrist who runs EveryDoctor, an advocacy service for doctors with 25,000 members, also said the Government had its part to play by making it possible for as many people to stay at home as possible. Dr Patterson spoke on the day the number of cases in the UK passed the 8,000 mark, with the death toll jumping from 335 to 422 – the biggest daily rise so far.

She told Express.co.uk: “It’s really, really important that people follow the social distancing rules in the public space so we really want to emphasise that idea.”

Nevertheless, commenting after pictures surfaced showing Londoners cramming into tube trains to head to work, she said: “The other thing, for members of the public who are struggling financially, and in need of support, they might work for themselves, or they might might be a freelancer or be let go.

“And so I think the message that we would push is that social distancing is absolutely vital but we would also like the government to put in place financial safeguards for people with contracts or who are working for themselves, because we want everybody to feel able to stay home.

Back Express.co.uk’s NHS Heroes campaign

“It’s about putting systems in place which keep as many people off the streets as possible.

“The Government can’t just lay the responsibility at the feet of individuals, to be honest.

“Individuals are feeling under stress and pressure.

“They’ve got financial worries.

“If the Government wants to keep the country safe, the government are gonna have to provide financial support everybody affected by this situation.

“And that is the only way we’re going to stop the spread.”

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Dr Patterson paid tribute to the extraordinary solidarity being demonstrated within the medical profession in the face of the biggest threat the NHS has ever faced.

She said: “There are lots of doctors who are being moved from one clinical area to a different body in order to help people on the front line, because a lot of the outpatient clinics, for example have been cancelled.

“Doctors are feeling worried but they’re working extremely hard to do the best they can for the public.

“I think everyone in the NHS wants to just try to keep the public safe however we can.

“The best way to do that is for people to stay at home keep their distance.”

Explaining the logic behind social distancing, she said: “Somebody might not become very sick themselves if they got coronavirus but they might give it somebody who will.

It’s brilliant to see Express.co.uk supporting NHS workers during this unbelievably difficult time

Dr Julia Patterson

“Some people have very few symptoms at all, it might just be like a mild cold, and you might not even realise what it is.

“There’s a long incubation period, which means that you could go about the streets without even realising you have it, coming into contact with older members of society and people who don’t have very good immunity.”

Dr Patterson also gave her wholehearted backing the Express.co.uk’s NHS Heroes campaign, saying: “It’s brilliant to see Express.co.uk supporting NHS workers during this unbelievably difficult time.”

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