RESIDENTS are being urged to join a campaign to wipe out Covid-19 across Southampton hospitals.

University Hospital Southampton plans to bring back normal healthcare services and wants to make sure patients are safe.

However, hospital bosses have warned a second wave of coronavirus could overwhelm the city’s NHS services.

The COVID ZERO campaign has now been launched to stop further infections.

Its message for the Southampton community as well as the trust’s 11,500 staff is “walk, wear, wash”.

Health experts at the hospital say people should follow government guidance and walking apart.

They should wear a mask where they can’t walk apart from others, and they should wash their hands as often as possible.

The campaign, backed by the Daily Echo, aims to speed up the return of hospital services while keeping staff and patients safe from the threat of coronavirus.

According to hospital bosses, stopping further infections will mean staff who have been redeployed during the pandemic will be able to return to their regular roles.

They are pleading for the “community to play its part and act now” and warn that the alternative is the “very real possibility of a second wave that could overwhelm the city’s NHS services”.

At the peak of the pandemic, UHS had 180 in-patients admitted with Covid-19 – with around 40 of those requiring intensive care.

Chief medical officer at UHS, Derek Sandeman has warned that while rates of infection have dropped because of the effect of the lockdown, it would not take much to rise again. He urged the public to work to reduce the reproduction (R) number to prevent the spread of the virus as the country eases out of lockdown.

He said: “It is clear people are beginning to feel we have won the war against Covid-19, but this is not the case. “Nothing has changed, the pandemic is still here – the virus is still in our community and it remains infectious and dangerous. The numbers remain higher now than when it began.

“It kills the young, the old, the healthy, the fit, those with ill-health and those in their prime. It takes decades of life from those who die, it can easily return, threatening to overwhelm us.”

Mr Sandeman added: “We have achieved a lot and I am thankful to the community and our hospital staff for their goodwill and personal sacrifices which have got us this far. But a huge risk remains and it is vital we all do more.

“It was through the actions of the people, individuals acting in the interest of others, that so many lives were saved.

“Walk, wear, wash is a simple but vital message if we are to protect our hospital and make it a safe place for patients to come and staff to deliver the help they need.”