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Watch: Gloria Hunniford calls for NI public to stay at home during coronavirus crisis to 'protect the NHS'

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TV legend Gloria Hunniford

TV legend Gloria Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford & husband Stephen Way

Gloria Hunniford & husband Stephen Way

TV legend Gloria Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford has called for the Northern Ireland public to heed government advice and stay at home "for our own good".

In a video distributed on the Department of Health's social media channels, the Loose Women host, who grew up in Portadown, pleaded with viewers to remain in isolation.

Speaking from her home in Kent, she said: "I know that these are very hard unprecedented times, and how many times have we heard that on the television?

"But it is difficult, I've been in isolation now for about nearly three weeks and it isn't easy at the beginning but in a weird way I think you get more into the rhythm of it as the time goes on but we have to stick to the advice - that's the important point of being in touch with you today."

Gloria, who turns 80 on April 10, acknowledged that although it will be difficult, we must stay indoors to protect the NHS.

"Hard though it is sometimes, we have to do it. We have to do it for our own health, for the health of our families, for the health of everything around us and particularly the NHS.

"I am in so much admiration of what the NHS is doing now. All the doctors, nurses, everybody who works around the hospital and all those tens of thousands of people who are going back into the NHS having retired or having left for whatever reason."

She added: "I want to say thank you, thank you for looking after all of us and I plead with you again to do whatever it is we have to do to keep safe.

"Stay in your own home, stay in your own isolation and do what the government is telling us for our own good long term. So I'm sending you much love and keep washing those hands."

The TV presenter previously said she was terrified she and her husband's underlying health conditions make them more at risk from coronavirus.

She has pre-diabetes while husband Stephen Way (76) has a number of health issues and suffered a stroke in 2012.

Their ages also put them in the high-risk group for Covid-19, which is more deadly for older people.

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Gloria Hunniford & husband Stephen Way

Gloria Hunniford & husband Stephen Way

Gloria Hunniford & husband Stephen Way

While the Government has warned the elderly and vulnerable to stay in their homes for three months, Gloria can't bear the thought of being in lockdown for more than a few weeks.

"My husband has had a few health issues in the past year and is still in recovery," Gloria told OK! Magazine.

"I'm also classified as pre-diabetic, but I'm controlling it with food.

"The scary part with this coronavirus is that you think you have your head in place and then new information comes out.

"But I feel that at our age we have to do what we can and take the advice given to us by experts."

Despite being worried, she and Stephen have refused to panic-buy food, something that has left hundreds of thousands of elderly people across the UK and Ireland struggling to get their hands on essential items. "My husband and I haven't started to stock up on supplies yet," the broadcaster said.

"My plan of action is that my freezer is well-stocked and I have a cupboard with tins and pasta in there.

"We have farm shops nearby, so I'll go there because there aren't as many people.

"I'm not going into the big supermarkets or the restaurants. I'm trying to be cautious and sensible."

Belfast Telegraph