Police in coronavirus briefing blunder

Police mistakenly tell MPs of Royal Free scare

Thursday, 13th February 2020 — By Samantha Booth


POLICE mistakenly told council chiefs and MPs including Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of a coronavirus clash at the Royal Free Hospital.

Officers were yesterday (Wednesday) sending out corrections to a briefing which had previously said that police had been called to the Hampstead hospital after family of a patient being tested for the virus had been found trying to break them out of an isolation unit last week.

The update sent to Camden and Islington’s most senior politicians and passed on to some neighbourhood groups is understood to have caused alarm when it was circulated at the end of last week.

The Royal Free insists no such indident took place. One coronavirus patient from Brighton is currently being treated at the hospital’s special unit.

A Met Police spokes­man said: “This was included in a briefing to local partners, not released to media or the public, based on information recorded in error. We are informed by the ­hospital that the patient was not suspected of being infected with the coronavirus. A correction will be issued to recipients of the briefing.”

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