Nurses Chase Suspects Who Stole Hand Sanitizer From Hospital Until Police Arrive: 'How Low Can You Get?'

Nurses chased after suspects who stole hand sanitizer from a U.K. hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic, police said.

The incident occurred at Teddington Memorial Hospital in London, Eileen Carney-Jones, an advanced nurse practitioner, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Carney-Jones said "hooded gentlemen" had opened a hand sanitizer dispenser at the hospital and stole its contents. She added that nurses followed the thieves until police officers arrived at the scene.

"Shocking selfish behaviour in this time of crisis," Carney-Jones added, referencing the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the U.K.

How low can you get stealing hand sanitizer from a hospital??? Well done to the nurses for following the suspects until the thin blue line arrived. 🧑🏼‍⚕️👏👮🏼‍♂️

— Teddington Ward Neighbourhood Policing Team (@MPSTeddington) March 22, 2020

Police shared Carney-Jones' tweet, adding: "How low can you get stealing hand sanitizer from a hospital??? Well done to the nurses for following the suspects until the thin blue line arrived."

The Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, which includes Teddington Memorial Hospital, responded to Carney-Jones' tweets, writing: "Words fail us Eileen. Please people - all of us in the #NHS are doing our best to help you. Don't make our job harder by stealing valuable supplies! Your family may need our help one day too."

Police and the Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust have been contacted for additional comment.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that schools in the country would be closed to all but the children of "key workers" from Monday. Pubs, cinemas, nightclubs, gyms and other businesses have been ordered to close, while restaurants and bars are limited to serving takeout food only.

According to the BBC, the U.K. government is considering closing all nonessential retail stores and introducing fines for people who ignore the government's advice.

Johnson said in a briefing on Sunday that further measures would be considered if people fail to follow social distancing guidelines after photos showed people continued to gather in open spaces across the country at the weekend.

A sign points the way to a NHS 111 Coronavirus Pod at The Royal London Hospital in London on March 23, 2020. AFP via Getty Images

The U.K. has more than 5,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, according to Public Health England, with more than 2,000 of those in London. More than 280 people have died in the U.K. while 135 patients have recovered.

Globally, the novel coronavirus has sickened almost 350,000 and killed more than 15,000, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. More than 100,000 people have recovered.

This graphic, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world as of March 23.

Statista Coronavirus World Map March 23, 2020
A map provided by Statista shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus disease cases around the world as of March 23.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.