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Coronavirus: Baby at Royal Surrey thought to be first born in UK after lockdown was announced

3 minute read
Coronavirus: Baby at Royal Surrey thought to be first born in UK after lockdown was announced

Published at 4:01pm 2nd April 2020. (Updated at 4:34pm 2nd April 2020)

Winnie Catherine Oates was born at 8.40pm on Monday 23 March 2020, precisely five minutes after Boris Johnson finished his address telling the UK it was being placed in lockdown.

For parents Jo and Steve, it was as they were holding their newborn daughter, weighing 7lbs 9oz, for the first time that they found out the news.

It means the delivery at the Royal Surrey is possibly the first to have taken place in the country after the Prime Minister made his unprecedented five-minute speech at 8.30pm that evening.

Winnie Catherine Oates
Mum Jo with Winnie in hospital.

Among all the chaos of the current situation Jo Oates, 36, and her family had tried to shut out the world over the weekend at their home in Ash Green, ahead of the due date on Mother’s Day (22 March) – coincidentally also Jo and Steve’s 12th wedding anniversary.

Jo went into labour on the Saturday (21 March) and later went to hospital when her blood pressure had increased, which led to an unplanned caesarean.

At around 7pm on 23 March she went to theatre, where the team of midwives, consultants, surgeons and anaesthetists were in good spirits – even with some dancing to Phil Collins from Jo’s birth playlist.

She said:

“The team were amazing, they held her up and they said, ‘you’ve got a little baby girl’.

“At which point they said 'oh, this is going to be an interesting one, Boris has just said it’s lockdown’.

“We kind of looked at each other and thought ‘what does that mean?’, we didn’t want to spoil our moment at all, and we had our baby girl cuddles.”

On when they realised the reality of the situation, Jo added:

“It was the grandparents when we phoned to tell them ‘you’ve got a new baby granddaughter’.

“They said to us ‘we probably won’t be meeting her till June, because Boris has announced that it’s lockdown and you’ve got to go home and self-isolate.”

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, Steve was not allowed to stay on the unit overnight with Jo and Winnie.

Winnie Catherine Oates
Winnie with mum Jo, dad Steve and older sister Mia.

Jo has given her thanks to all the staff at the Royal Surrey hospital ahead of tonight's Clap for our Carers (2 April) at 8pm.

She said:

“We’ll be out there, we will be shouting as high in our voices as possible, because they just looked after us so well.

“Can’t thank them enough, our little girl is here safe and well because of the bravery of the nurses, the doctors, the midwives that are going in everyday to provide the care that they gave us.

“Thank you.”

Winnie Catherine Oates
Now aged 10 days old, Winnie is said to be doing well and putting on weight.