A DESPERATE nurse is pleading with people to stay at home as she reports hospital staff have been forced “to their knees” by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shirley Watts is an operating theatre nurse at Basildon Hospital, where 49 patients suffering with Covid-19 have died.

She posted a video on Saturday after a long shift in the intensive care unit treating desperately ill patients.

“I wanted you to see the reality of what’s going on,” she said.

“Look at the state of my face, this is from wearing this mask.

“Things are pretty desperate at the hospital, we’re all having a pretty hard time.

“As you can see, I look a bit of a state, but we all do.

“We’re all just trying to do what we can, I’m finishing now, at 1.30pm, because I’m going to come back tonight, because we’re all desperately short staffed.

“Things are really difficult and we’re all struggling.”

The exhausted nurse pleaded with people to stay in and slow the spread of the virus.

“If you stay in and you don’t spread it and don’t catch it, that takes the pressure off us,” she said.

“Because we’re all on our knees at the moment. We’re all pulling weird old shifts, we’re all supporting each other, luckily, and we’re trying to save lives.”

Her voice cracked and she fought back tears as she added: “We’re all just doing what we can to save people’s loved ones

“I want you to see me like this because I want people to realise how serious it is.

“If you know anyone that’s going out and they don’t need to, if you see groups of people, then I want you to say something to them.

“You need to help protect the NHS because we are struggling at the moment to do what we need to do.

“In every hospital there are staff like me, people like me and we’re sinking a little bit, but still turning up and trying to do our best. That’s all we can do, that’s all anyone can do.”