THE devastated parents of a six-month-old baby recently diagnosed with the coronavirus are pleading with people to stay home to save lives after their critically ill child contracted Covid-19 while in hospital.

‘Miracle baby’ Erin Bates was born in the Burnley General Hospital in October and in just six short months has survived open heart surgery, battled respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)  and now, devastatingly, is facing a fight against the deadly coronavirus after testing positive for the infection on Friday.

Now dad Wayne Bates, from Burnley, has spoken of his disbelief after seeing hordes of people still out and about in the streets despite multiple government warnings to stay at home.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, he said: “My daughter was in a controlled and safe environment – recovering in hospital – when she contracted the virus.

“People cannot continue to walk around still thinking that they will not get it. People need to stay at home, it is the easiest thing ever that we are being asked to do.

“If my child dies now, I won’t be allowed near her as I have to stay in isolation at home. I won’t be allowed to go to the hospital, to act on what has happened – and it’s a horrible thought that someone else may unnecessarily go through this because people aren’t taking it seriously.”

Mr Bates and his travel agent wife Emma have been by baby Erin’s side at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool since November, after she was transferred there from the Royal Blackburn Hospital needing open-heart surgery for a rare defect known as tetralogy of fallot (TOF).

However, while recovering from the surgery little Erin contracted the RSV virus - which infects the lungs and breathing passages. Just when things looked like they were taking a turn for the better, she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Mechanic Mr Bates said: “It’s all very hard to digest now – it doesn’t really feel like it's happening to us, it feels more like I’m just watching this all as it happens to someone else.

“It’s hard to believe that my baby could go through so much in her short life, but if anything, the fact she has already overcome so much gives us hope that she will fight off this virus too.

“All of the doctors and nurses have been really incredible and both Emma and I want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts for all they have done for Erin. Never could we have wished for more kind and caring people to be looking after our baby.

“How scary must it be for those who are going to work and looking after people who are known to have the virus? They are all putting their own lives at risk for little reward. We are eternally grateful to them.”

Mrs Bates, 29, remains at Erin’s side, who is currently hooked up to a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine supplying oxygen to her body, while Mr Bates, 32, is self-isolating at home in Bury.

He said: “I’m isolating now for the protection of others. Everybody must follow the rules whether you have a sick child or not.

“But I had to step away as my wife is now by Erin’s side, and she cannot leave. I needed to come home so I can stay healthy and so I’m available to help them.

The couple had previously tried for 10-years to conceive a baby after being told by medical professionals that their chances of ever having children were highly unlikely.

Mr Bates said: “Erin will be our first and last child, she really is a miracle baby for us.”

A spokesman from Alder Hey said: "We wish Erin and her family well during a difficult time and urge everyone to follow her parents’ advice to stay home and save lives."