AN NHS worker is pleading for people to stay inside as the tens of thousands of city residents at high-risk of the disease are revealed.

Ashley Hicks, 36, who works on the acute floor at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, made the impassioned appeal while waiting in A&E with coronavirus symptoms.


“Please stay at home. I’m worried and scared but I know I’ll’ be in the best place for me, my place of work.”

Following examination, the NHS worker was believed to be suffering from symptoms of severe asthma, making him one of thousands of people in Brighton and Hove who are at high risk from Coivd-19.

People in high risk groups are more likely to develop serious illness if they are infected by the coronavirus.

Government guidelines strongly advise those over 70, or with underlying health conditions to socially distance themselves from other people.

According to the latest population estimates, about 27,956 people in Brighton are over the age of 70.


Separate guidelines announced this week also advise people seriously at risk with certain other health conditions to begin “shielding”.

They will receive direct contact from the NHS asking them to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.

Those conditions include COPD - from which roughly 4,200 people in Brighton suffer.

Those with severe asthma are also advised to start shielding.

Approximately 16,500 people suffer from asthma in Brighton - though not all will be severe cases.

Similarly, those with certain cancers are also to begin shielding.

That includes people undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer, people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow (leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma), people undergoing immunotherapy treatment or other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, and those who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months.

An estimated 6,400 people in Brighton suffer from cancer according to the latest statistics.

However this figure includes all people who have recently suffered any type of cancer - so the number who will be contacted and asked to shield by the Government is likely to be less than this.

The data on people suffering certain conditions is modelled from the latest NHS Quality and Outcomes Framework data (2018/19), using the number of patients listed at each GP surgery to get figures at a local authority level.

That means the figures only represent estimates.

It is worth noting that some people may suffer from more than one condition, and those over the age of 70 may also count among those with an underlying health condition, meaning that you can’t arrive at a total figure for Brighton by adding up the number of people with each condition.

Last night, Boris Johnson plunged the UK into coronavirus lockdown tonight - ordering the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods as well as playgrounds and churches.

Gatherings of more than two people will be banned in the most dramatic curbs ever seen in Britain in peacetime, as the government goes all out to stop the spread of the killer disease.

In a grim address to the nation from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said weddings, baptisms and other social events must be cancelled to stop the NHS collapsing under the strain - although funerals can go ahead.

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal.  Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit