A LEADING Dudley pharmacist has urged people to take social distancing seriously, as the country continues the fight against coronavirus.

Olutayo Arikawe, from the The Priory Community Pharmacy on Priory Road, has issued the advice as pharmacies on are the frontline of the battle against the virus.

Pharmacies are classed as essential shops and have become a vital place for communities to access medicine and supplies as the country adapts to life under lockdown.

Olutayo and her team are offering a vital service from Priory Road and she has stressed how social distancing is crucial for pharmacists to be able to continue to help the community.

She told the News: "Pharmacy staff will really appreciate our patients keeping a social distance from us so that we can keep being opened for them because if we catch the virus, we may need to close the pharmacy and this can have a ripple effect on many pharmacies in the area, especially if there has been contact between the pharmacies such as delivery drivers.

"We want to encourage our patients to stay at home as much as they can and not come into the pharmacy unless they really have to. And when they do, they need to exercise patience with us because we are much busier than usual."

Olutayo, who was awarded a prestigious NHS award in Parliament last year for her work, said it was 'imperative' for people to follow the government's social distancing rules to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

She said: "One would have thought that people would understand the implication of the virus on the lives of people. But this doesn’t happen sometimes until when something happens close to home. "Unfortunately, we can’t allow this to happen. It is imperative for the government to enforce social distancing so that we can halt the course of this virus in our community and country."

The pharmacy on Priory Road continues to go above and beyond to to help local people, like pharmacies up and down the country.

Olutayo added: "We are supporting as many people as we can with delivery of their medication and also encouraging people to send in relatives and neighbours to pick up their prescriptions where they can.

"We are also helping some of our more vulnerable patients to do their shopping in store and deliver it to them."