Three nurses in the UK forced to wear trash bags instead of real protective gear have tested positive for the coronavirus

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Three nurses in the UK forced to wear trash bags instead of real protective gear have tested positive for the coronavirus

London hospital

Isabel Infantes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Northwick Park Hospital in London, UK, on March 20, 2020.

  • Three UK nurses forced to wear bin bags because of a lack of protective equipment for front-line medical workers during the coronavirus crisis have tested positive for the illness, according to The Telegraph. 
  • The nurses, who work at a hospital in northwest London, were pictured wearing trash bags on their heads and feet. 
  • Associations of British medics and nurses say that their members' health is being placed in danger because of the lack of protective equipment. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Three nurses in the UK who were forced to wear trash bags because of a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, The Telegraph reported.

The nurses, who work at the Northwick Park Hospital in northwest London, were pictured wearing clinical waste bags on their heads and feet because of a lack of protective equipment.

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They were diagnosed with COVID-19, a senior source at the hospital told the publication. 

The hospital was the first in the UK to declare a critical incident due to a shortage of equipment after a huge influx in March of people diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

According to the publication, on one ward 50% of staff have contracted the virus amid equipment shortages. 

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Despite attempts to address a lack of PPE by British ministers and NHS bosses, there are still widespread shortages in hospitals in the UK. 

The Doctors Association UK, an association of medics, told the Guardian that doctors are being "bullied" into treating COVID-19 patients and told to "hold their breath", because they don't have masks, gowns and other protective equipment. 

The Royal College of Nurses wrote to the UK's workplace health and safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive, describing the lack of PPE for nurses as "unconscionable." 

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On Wednesday, the association said that the lack of equipment is "fundamentally compromising" the care nurses can give to patients.

It said that, as vital equipment fails to reach front-line workers, nurses are being forced to buy their own equipment, share it or reuse it. 

To date, 17 front-line medical workers in the UK have been killed by the coronavirus. 

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