“SOME of you flocked to the beach at the weekend. My greatest wish is to take my four grandchildren. And now I never will.”

These are the heartbreaking words of one of the victims of coronavirus: a woman in her 70s whose partner, also in his 70s, is in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Cumberland Infirmary and is herself critically ill there. She does not expect her partner to live long and she fears for herself.

Although she doesn’t want her name or that of her partner to be published - because she doesn’t wish anyone to feel responsible for infecting them - she felt compelled to get in touch having seen people breaking social-distancing rules, going to the beach and “wandering around having a jolly”.

The woman, from a small town in Cumbria, contacted the News & Star by phone - despite being very breathless and having to pause to use her oxygen mask. She is not angry. But she is concerned for the whole country, that many people are not taking Covid-19 seriously. She mentioned again and again that we must all stay at home, as much for the sake of the “incredible” nurses caring for her and her partner.

These are the words she dictated: “Well, you did it well didn’t you? Thought ahead, got there first, stripped the shelves of all the produce, with little thought for those behind you, bemoaned your loss of holidays, parties and stretched self-isolation to its limits. So the pub was open, the park is there, why not?

“Some of you flocked to the beach at the weekend. My greatest wish is to take my four grandchildren. And now I never will. I don’t like to blame you but your selfishness knows no bounds.”

“My life has been much different. My partner departed to hospital with the paramedics nearly three weeks ago. His only mistake was attending a meeting where one of the members had been abroad and, on the apparent instruction of Boris Johnson, saw no need to advise the group. I attach no blame to this person.”

Despite self-isolating, she thinks she caught the virus from her partner because she couldn’t not give him that most human of gestures, a reassuring hug. He was admitted by ambulance around three weeks ago, while she was admitted about 10 days ago. “Departure in the ambulance was emotional, no kisses, no hope, no idea when we would see each other again,” she said. “Since then his condition has worsened, oxygen is no longer absorbed and I expect the end very soon. He went immediately into the ICU, who were kindness itself and sympathised with ruthless insistence that I couldn’t visit. When I followed in the same ambulance with the same paramedic a week later I did at least feel we were closer. But life in hospital in isolation is no fun.”

Because the virus is so contagious she has had no family visits. “The highlight of last week was when my son delivered some books to the front desk and then walked around and stood leaning on a post, just like a romantic lover, under the window. I wept and waved in equal quantities. I had three precious visits, with my partner unable to speak or respond.”

If her words have any effect, it is that everyone should wake up to how quickly the disease spreads. Who want this for their family?

“As I write, the dawn is breaking, along with my heart. There will almost certainly be a review in ICU today or tomorrow, the result pretty self-evident and, if I am lucky, as I have had Covid-19 I might be able to hold my partner’s hand as he leaves us, accompanied by the strains of Fauré’s Requiem.

“And as I finish this I learn my lungs are not behaving properly…”

In a sign that the UK could be moving towards greater lockdown, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government was willing to take “more action” if needed to stop coronavirus from spreading after photos emerged over the weekend showing crowds of people visiting open spaces across many parts of the UK.

People who are ignoring NHS and Government advice on social distancing and self isolation are “very selfish”, Mr Hancock has said, as he indicated further measures could be brought in to tackle Covid-19.