Police in the UK have arrested a woman for filming and sharing a video of a mostly empty hospital and posting the footage online.
A video showing empty wards at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital recently surfaced. Debbie Hicks who took the video is heard saying:
“This is a disgrace…it is so dead…all the people in our country desperately waiting for treatment, cancer treatment, heart disease, honestly this is making me so angry.”
She also added that she expected to find “a few more people around, there’s absolutely nobody.” Shortly after the video surfaced online, the 46-year-old woman was arrested by the Gloucestershire police for filming the video. She was charged with a public order offense.
In the video, viewed over 178,000 times on Facebook, she says: “We’ve been put in Tier 3, for this? It’s a disgrace. I’ve seen less than 20 people. It’s completely dead in an empty hospital with wards shut down and the lights off.
“Where are all the people dying and where is the mutant virus? I can’t see the evidence and neither can the public watching. We’ve been robbed of Christmas for this’.
Gloucester Royal Hospital has pushed back and insisted the wards are “extremely busy” and accused Hicks of “intrusion.”
Local Conservative lawmaker Siobham Baillie said: “It’s appalling that our Gloucestershire Hospital Trust had to spend their precious time during this difficult pandemic defending themselves against films on social media that were wrongly claiming the hospital is empty.”
“Following a number of reports in relation to a video filmed by a member of the public at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and posted online, officers arrested a 46-year-old woman yesterday (Tuesday 29 December) on suspicion of a public order offense,” the police said in a statement.
“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,” the police added.
As coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns are creating friction between people and the government, censorship such as this is likely to further diminish public trust.