Matt Hancock says families will be allowed to say goodbye to dying coronavirus victims

New measures after 13-year-old dying alone made him 'weep'

Matt Hancock has announced families will be allowed to say goodbye to their loved ones dying of coronavirus.

The Health Secretary revealed the new measures yesterday.

He said reports of 13-year-old Ismail Abdulwahab dying without his parents at his bedside made him ‘weep’.

Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock revealed families will be able to visit loved ones dying from coronavirus (Credit: BBC)

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Hancock said measures will be put in place so families can safely visit those ill with the virus in hospital.

He added that wanting to be with someone you love at the end of their life ‘is one of the deepest human instincts’.

He said stories of people dying on their own are ‘heartbreaking’.

‘Deepest human instinct’

Speaking at last night’s (April 15) daily Government coronavirus update, Mr Hancock said: “Wanting to be with someone you love at the end of their life is one of the deepest human instincts.

I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of people dying without a loved one nearby.

“Done right it can help those left behind to cope, and it brings comfort to those who are dying.”

He added: “I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of people dying without a loved one nearby.

“The reports of Ismail without a parent at his bedside made me weep.

“And the sight of his coffin being lowered into a grave without a member of his family present was too awful.”

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Ismail died in Kings College Hospital, London, on his own and his family could not attend his funeral due to having coronavirus symptoms themselves.

Heartbreakingly, strangers wearing full protective suits buried the teenager instead.

Mr Hancock also revealed that blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ orders will no longer be allowed.

‘Curve flattening’

Speaking at the same briefing, Professor Chris Witty shared the positive news that the curve is flattening.

But the number of deaths may continue to rise over the next few days.

“It takes a while for people to succumb to this disease and then for those cases to be reported,” he explained.

“The UK data there from PHE and from devolved administrations we’re watching, and hoping that those too will soon start to follow that trajectory.”

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“What I see that encourages me is two weeks now of definitely not increasing anymore,” added Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser, Angela MacClean.

“I see a flattened curve. For me that is evidence that what everyone has done, together, has worked for us all.”

Care home testing

It was also announced that those working in social care will get a special badge to allow them to benefit from the same discounts offered to NHS staff.

And Matt Hancock promised tests for those in care homes with suspected coronavirus.

The government has been criticised for not including care home deaths in the total COVID-19 death toll.

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