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Wednesday 27th May 2020

Coronavirus: First UK doctor dies from COVID-19

He had "textbook symptoms"

A GP in Essex is the first doctor to have died from a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Dr Habib Zaidi, who was 76, had "textbook" symptoms, his family said, and was taken into intensive care in Southend Hospital on Tuesday. He passed away 24 hours later.

Dr Habib Zaidi is the first UK doctor to die from coronavirus (Credit: NHS Southend)

"For that to be the thing that took him is too much to bear."

His family said Dr Zaidi, a GP in Leigh-on-Sea for more than 45 years, had sacrificed his life for his profession.

He had not been treating patients and was self-isolating for about a week before he died. He had not been tested for COVID-19, but his daughter, who is also a GP, said he had been suffering "textbook symptoms" of the virus.

Members of the public clapped and cheered NHS workers and carers last night (Credit: Splash News)

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Dr Habib Zaidi was a managing partner of Eastwood Group Practice along with his wife, Dr Talat Zaidi.

Dr Sarah Zaidi told the BBC: "For that to be the thing that took him is too much to bear.

"It is reflective of his sacrifice. He had a vocational attitude to service."

She had no doubt that COVID-19 was the cause of her father's death. "He was treated as a definitive case," she said. "There is little clinical doubt it is coronavirus, the test result is academic."

People have been criticised for exercising too close to each other (Credit: Splash News)

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He won an excellence award two years ago from the NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which described him as a "legend" who was "highly revered by staff and patients alike".

Strict measures are in place that people must be 2m apart in public at all times (Credit: Splash News)

Tributes to the "kind and lovely" doctor have flooded in on social media. One wrote on Twitter: "Dr Habib Zaidi was my GP. A lovely man always willing to listen. My heart goes out to his family. RIP Sir."

Another wrote: "Dr Zaidi made the ultimate sacrifice whilst caring for his patients."

Dr Zaidi’s widow has gone into quarantine away from the rest of the family. Dr Sarah Zaidi said: "We can’t mourn in the normal way. We can’t have a normal funeral."

Last night the nation gathered to clap for the NHS in emotional scenes.

In other coronavirus news, people have been criticised for still not adhering to the social distancing rules of walking six feet apart.

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