Coronavirus: Son of COVID victim says his father could have been saved

·3-min read

"Your grandfather died of COVID-19 which could have been stopped and could have been controlled."

This is a message Aamar Khan will have to give to his children after their "kind and perfect" grandfather became a victim of the coronavirus second wave.

Mukhtar Ahmed Khan, 67, was described by his son as a "genuine guy who would go out of his way to help people".

"He was a fantastic geezer that everyone in the community loved. I'm really proud of him, it's just so sad we've lost him to COVID-19," his son added.

The businessman, originally from Pakistan, died on October 31 after contracting the disease and spending time in intensive care, but his son told Sky News he believed more should have been done to protect him because his ethnicity meant he was at greater risk.

Aamar said: "There needs to be more community messaging from the government, letting us know that we need to take extra care and more precautions.

"Something like posters, letting us know we need to work together by staying at home, staying indoors and wearing a mask. It would help save lives."

Earlier this year government's findings concluded that being from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background during the pandemic was a "major risk factor", but many are questioning what actions have been implemented to help protect people from the coronavirus, especially in this second wave.

Dr Raghib Ali is a frontline doctor advising the government on ethnicity and COVID-19, and said he believed there had been changes to protect these communities since the first wave of the pandemic.

He said: "We have an individual risk calculator where everyone can figure out what their own risk is; based on their age, their ethnicity, their occupation, where they live and any conditions they have, like obesity or diabetes.

"This means everyone can work out what is their risk by not overestimating it and therefore panicking and they don't underestimate and therefore don't take the right precautions. I know the government are trying to roll these out as quick as possible."

Dr Ali believes ethnic minorities need to comply during the second national lockdown to protect themselves from the virus.

Aamar said he had a "glimmer of hope" that his father would survive the disease because he was "fit and healthy and had never been to hospital before".

But he admitted he also knew the impact this virus was having on the community and the particularly disproportionate impact it had had on people in the UK of south Asian descent.

"This has broken our family's hearts," he said.

"You don't realise the effects of this virus until you lose your own family member. You realise it is really serious and right now the rules aren't helping us in any way - more lives will be lost.

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"The grandkids loved him, he used to play with them so much, but now I have to tell them when they grow up, 'your grandfather died of coronavirus which could have been stopped and could have been controlled', and now we've got to bear the pain."

On Thursday, the UK's human rights watchdog began its inquiry into the impact the virus has had on ethnic minorities, but as this takes place there are increased concerns the second national lockdown will also hurt this community economically and psychologically.