Coronavirus: Family of second UK victim unable to arrange funeral because of isolation

The 83-year-old died at Milton Keynes hospital

The family of the second person to have died in the UK to coronavirus has paid tribute to a "truly loving and wonderful" husband, dad, granddad and great-granddad.

In a statement on Saturday, they said their 83-year-old relative was "dearly loved" and that he "would go to any length to support and protect his family".

They also confirmed they could not yet begin making funeral arrangements during the "whole nightmare" because they are being kept in isolation themselves as a precaution.

The statement said: "This whole nightmare is not something that we or our loved one asked for.

"As we are in isolation currently, we cannot arrange for him to be put to rest and with all the activity that is going around with regards to everyone's concerns, we cannot grieve him as we would wish to."

The family went on to say their elderly relative was admitted to hospital on Monday and was removed from the ward for further testing.

On Thursday, he was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, and died shortly thereafter "with us all present at the hospital with him".

The statement then stressed that although the patient had the illness, his cause of death had not yet been confirmed.

It also rejected claims made in earlier reports that said the family had criticised the hospital for the time taken to move him from the ward, and said it had not spoken to any media outlet prior to Saturday evening's statement.

Addressing some of the "hurtful comments" the family had since received, it added: "People should perhaps put themselves in our shoes and think how they would feel with some of the hurtful comments that are being made.

"We would not wish this experience on anyone and we would ask that you have respect for us and allow us to grieve."

A statement from Milton Keynes University Hospital - where the man died - said it had "followed, and [will] continue to follow, all national guidance on the identification and management of patients with suspected COVID-19."

It added: "This includes when to test and when to isolate patients as a precaution against the possible spread of infection.

"Guidance changes week-to-week given the evolving nature of COVID-19 in England, and we keep abreast of all updates.

"We have stringent infection control protocols in place; and are working closely with national agencies, including Public Health England, to ensure we are doing everything possible to safeguard all those using the hospital at all times."

It then confirmed that it was working to "undertake extensive contact tracing" to identify anyone who had been in close contact with the victim.

It comes after 45 more people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the UK on Saturday in one of the biggest daily rises - taking the national total to 209.

The vast majority of confirmed infections of COVID-19 are in England.

They include 38 in London; 30 in the South East; 25 in the South West; 26 in the North West; 18 in the North East and Yorkshire; 17 in the Midlands; 16 in the East of England, and 14 where the locations have not yet been established.

In Cornwall, a second case has been confirmed - a resident of the county who had travelled to northern Italy, which has been severely hit by the global outbreak. A resident of Leicestershire is also one of the latest cases.

There have been five more infections in Scotland, taking the number of cases there to 16.

Two new cases have been reported in Lanarkshire, with an increase of one case in Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Grampian.

The Department of Health said as of 7am today, some 21,460 people have been tested in the UK, of which 21,254 were negative.

The 83-year-old man who died on Thursday was the second person to die from the virus in the UK.

It following the death of a woman in her 70s who lost her life in hospital in Reading, Berkshire, also this week.

They were both thought to have had underlying health conditions.

The UK's deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries has told Sky News that the country "has planned for pandemic flu for many, many years".

She added: "It's important at any time of year, particularly in winter, that if you have elderly relatives and are particularly unwell yourselves, you should avoid visiting them."

The government has been urging people to refrain from stockpiling - amid reports that some supermarkets are running out of toilet roll, painkillers and certain non-perishable goods.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed that the government is "working to makes sure that if people are self-isolating, they will be able to get the food and supplies that they need".

In China - the epicentre of the outbreak - a hotel used to house people in quarantine has collapsed, trapping about 70 people.

It happened in the city of Quanzhou, in southeastern Fujian Province. So far, at least 23 people have been rescued.

Meanwhile, a coronavirus-hit cruise ship with more than 3,500 people on board, including 140 Britons, which is off the Californian coast, has been directed to a non-commercial port for testing.

It comes after 21 people on the Grand Princess tested positive for the illness.

In other developments:

Virus Outbreak: Global Emergency - Watch a special Sky News programme on coronavirus at 6pm weekdays

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