Council leader and both her critically-ill parents fighting Covid

Liberal Democrat council leader Sarah Bütikofer. Picture: North Norfolk District Council

North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Bütikofer has made a plea for people to be extra careful about coronavirus after she and both her parents contracted the disease. Picture: NNDC - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

A council leader has told how her parents are both critically ill with Covid, as she also battles the virus.

Sarah Bütikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said her mother was on end-of-life care and her father was in a critical condition after they both contracted Covid-19.

Mrs Bütikofer, who also has coronavirus, said the disease was more serious than many people realised and urged everyone to limit their contacts with others as much as possible.

She said: "I stand to lose both of them this week because of coronavirus.

"The part I find the hardest is that we played by all the rules and we did everything that we were supposed to, and we still got it."

Mrs Bütikofer said she avoided seeing her parents at Christmas, and when she did have to visit them because they could not get nursing help, she was double masked and double gloved.

She called on everybody to be extra careful over the coming weeks.

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Mrs Bütikofer said: "My biggest plea is 'please take it seriously', because I don't want anyone to go through what we're going through.

"I want to thank the medical teams because they are working flat out and doing everything they can for us."

The number of people in critical care beds in Norfolk hospitals is up 88pc compared to last winter.

Erika Denton, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital medical director, last week said the hospital was handling an "extremely challenging" situation and was treating more than 200 patients with Covid-19.

England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned on Monday that the next few weeks would be "worst weeks of the pandemic".

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty Picture: Leon Neal/PA Wire

- Credit: PA

Prof Whitty told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We got to be very clear that we are now at the worst point of this epidemic for the UK.

"The new variant undoubtedly makes every situation slightly more dangerous than it was in the previous situation because the current variant is transmitted exactly the same way, but the probability of transmission with any interaction has now gone up with this new variant."

He urged the public to "stay at home unless you absolutely have to".