A GP has criticised The Beacon in Stroud for a 'dangerous and completely wrong' sign that is on display on its window.

The Beacon, a community hub based in the town centre, has displayed messages on the sign which appear to question the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and the Government's handling of it.

The sign says 'Is there a pandemic?' and goes onto compare the death rate in the UK over the last five years.

The sign also claims that Covid-19 is a blood disorder and not pneumonia, and that 'There is no need for a vaccine' and that it can be cured by ingesting chloroquine and zinc.

Responding to the messages, physician Dr Richard Dean, who has been working on the frontlines in the NHS, said: “This is truly shocking, dangerous and completely wrong on all levels.

“This chloroquine nonsense is straight out of Trump’s deranged handbook and there is no evidence whatsoever of its efficacy.

"This is a dangerous message in these times and can definitely exacerbate an already troubling situation.”

Stroud town mayor Kevin Cranston called the sign offensive and uninformed.

He said:“Even Trump has moved beyond calling for the use of malaria drugs, I wonder if The Beacon will next be supporting the President’s suggestions to use ‘powerful’ lights and household cleaners in new and lethal ways.”

The Stroud District Green Party has called for the removal of the sign.

Green group leader on the Stroud District Council, Martin Whiteside said: "Having lost a family member to Covid-19 over the weekend, I am aware just how dangerous such mis-information is. At the current time we need to urgently set-up systems of contract tracing to test, track, isolate and support those infected and those who have been in contact with them."

Doina Cornell Leader of Stroud District Labour Group said:"I agree with local GP and other political parties condemning the sign which should be taken down immediately. Having been very closely involved with fighting the effects  of the virus. This sign gives out very dangerous messages at a time when people are losing their loved ones. By repeating the nonsense advocated by President Trump spreads dangerous and untrue rumours. The Labour Party has a proud tradition of defending free speech ,this though does not mean not condemning nonsense such as this."

Responding to the comments, The Beacon's co-founder, Marcus Blackett said:"I am absolutely in favour of protecting the elderly and vulnerable, If the doctor wants me to take down the sign that informs people of potential cures, then I will do so.

"People are getting sick because they are isolated and effectively living under house arrest, condemned as 'murderers' for so much as thinking about breaking the curfew," he claimed.

"Never before in history has a healthy population been constricted in their movement and put under lockdown.

"I stand by my judgement to let people know.

"I think people have a right to know there is hope, and most people recover."