The son of a tragic coronavirus patient said he had to wear a mask to say goodbye to his dad – with his tears steaming it up.
Jonathan Blakeley said his protective mask was “full of tears” as he saw 88-year-old dad Darrell for the last time in hospital isolation after he contracted the virus at a restaurant, it is believed.
The church choir singer died on Friday at North Manchester General Hospital after coming into contact with a skier returning from northern Italy – with his son describing how he was quickly wrapped in plastic and put in an airtight coffin.
However, due to strict rules currently in place, Jonathan was not allowed to be with his dad in his “direst hour” as he died, he told ITV News.
The heartbroken son called the coronavirus “the cruellest disease”, adding that his dad had “looked after me all my life” but is devastated he couldn’t do more for him as he died.
Darrell tested negative for the highly contagious virus initially after being admitted on March 3 with sepsis before being placed into quarantine after it became clear he had previously likely come into direct contact with a confirmed patient.
The pensioner was then diagnosed a week later before becoming extremely ill and died.
Jonathan said the “mental anguish” that goes with the disease is almost as bad as the actual physical effects.
He held his dad’s hand and stroked his hair while wearing the protective gear but could only be with him for 15 minutes.
“He didn’t really know what was going on at that stage,” said Jonathan, who estimates he last saw Darrell alive four hours before his death – adding his dad “couldn’t breathe properly”.
“His lungs were filling with fluid and rattling, and again I’d gowned up, the nurse accompanied me into the room in a very dignified way letting me speak my last moments to my father.”
He went on to explain how he told his dad a “white lie”, letting him believe he would get better and would be “out in three days” to see the sunny spring weather.
Jonathan is not allowed to see his father’s body again after it was “forever sealed” and taken to a morgue but he has encouraged families going through similar experiences to “pull together” and self isolate.
“It might mean that you can’t see your favourite football team or go to the cinema,” he added.
People in the UK have been told to avoid pubs, clubs and restaurants and work from home wherever possible to slow the spread of coronavirus which has now claimed 55 lives in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference yesterday urged everyone to “stop non-essential contact and to stop all non-essential travel”.
The PM said London appeared to be “a few weeks ahead” of other areas and urged people in the capital to pay special attention to the measures – including home working – suggested by the Government.
The UK death toll yesterday rose to 55 while there have now been 1,543 cases.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday said that over-70s could be asked to self-isolate for four months.
Across the world more than 6,000 people have now died from the disease.