A HAMPSHIRE couple on lockdown in the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak has given a stark warning to the British public.

The couple from Fareham are “sitting tight” in the north of Italy.

It is the worst-hit country in the world with more than 8,000 deaths since the health crisis began.

Staying in the town of Marnate just north of Milan, they have warned that if British people do not respect the lockdown the same thing could happen in the UK.

The husband who wished to remain unnamed, said: “People disregarding the lockdown need to stop being selfish and think of the vulnerable as well as front line NHS staff.

“It’s completely logical to us what the Italians are trying to achieve, that is to reduce the stress on their healthcare system and to do this by limiting the number of infected. The best way to do this is by limiting human contact, it’s simple really, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand the logic.”

“It will not take much to overwhelm the NHS.”

The couple have been staying in a friend’s apartment for the last five weeks while visiting their daughter and grandchild.

They hope to drive back to the UK in April, however, report that not being able to go out is frustrating.

But, in the grand scheme of things this is a small sacrifice to make.

The husband adds: “Solidarity is still tight and people are positive with a strong belief that we are going to get through this.

“The sense of community is great. The streets are empty and it’s a ghost town everywhere.

“I think everyone will all start to appreciate the smaller things in life more when this is over.

“We believe going forward this will make the nation much stronger, with people having a far greater respect for each other.

They report the situation is improving “slightly” but he believes it will be several more weeks before hospitals see any significant drop in coronavirus cases.