The boss of Salisbury District Hospital has warned that the next two weeks are going to be "crucial" to control the spread of Covid-19 and urged as many people as possible to play their part in the fight against coronavirus by simply staying at home.

Cara Charles-Barks MBE, chief executive of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As health professionals we know the significance of the advice that’s been given and that’s been given for a reason.

“The more people stay at home, the more they will help reduce the risk of the infection spreading. If you look at how busy it is in London, everything we do to curb the spread of the virus is crucial and it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect themselves and their families.”

While the number of cases in the UK is continuing to rise, Wiltshire is among the local authorities with the lowest number of patients affected by the virus. Salisbury has recorded one death as a result of the virus. The patient had underlying health conditions.

But, in spite of the low figures in the county, Mrs Charles-Banks says no-one can predict what’s going to happen and reckons that the next two weeks are going to be “crucial”.

She added: “We’re fully ready, we’ve got isolation areas ready, empty beds, we’ve been retraining staff so that they’re able to look after those needing intensive care and ventilation...

“Our staff have done an amazing job but it’s all a bit surreal. We know that we are prepared if a new influx of patients comes so at the moment we’re just waiting.

“The next two weeks are going to be crucial because social distancing will give us a chance to control the spread.”

On Monday, just hours before Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered the official 'stay at home' message, staff at Salisbury District Hospital urged people to do just that.

Doctors and nurses from the Coronary Care Unit and Cardiac ward were pictured holding the slogan: "We Stay Here For You ❤️ Please Stay Home For Us!".

Mrs Charles-Barks says the message is "very clear" and everyone should follow it.