Transport secretary reveals his father is on COVID ward

Watch: Grant Shapps reveals his father has been in a COVID ward 'for some time'

The transport secretary has revealed that his father is in hospital being treated on a COVID ward, as he praised NHS staff working under “relentless pressure”.

Grant Shapps said his 89-year-old father had been on a coronavirus ward for “quite some time” after contracting the virus in hospital.

Paying tribute to healthcare staff caring for his father, Shapps told Good Morning Britain: “The work they (NHS staff) do is incredible. I speak to them every single day, of course, we have not been able to visit my dad for two months now.

“What they have been doing for nearly a year now has been extraordinary and, as you said, it has of course been worse now, even though numbers are coming down in hospital.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 15: UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps  arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, England on December 15, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Grant Shapps has revealed his father is in hospital on a COVID ward. (Getty)

Shapps said his father had been moved to a smaller ward the day prior due to the hospital starting to see a reduction in coronavirus patients.

He added: “But even now, even with that reduction, it’s still higher than it was in the first peak so we are not out of this yet, we just need to adhere to the lockdown and to the rules to stop more people ending up in those hospitals.”

Asked about carrying out the role of cabinet minister while his father is unwell, Shapps said: “It is very difficult. I know that quite often people think that people in authority or power or in public service live a different, gilded life.

“The truth is, you live the same life as everyone else, and coronavirus, that gets everybody, got my dad.

“It wasn’t the reason he went into hospital originally but unfortunately he did pick it up and we’re all very worried.”

Read more: What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

Shapps said that he had been speaking to nurses about his father’s condition when possible, but that staff were “very, very pressed” and that hospitals remained under “immense pressure”.

“I do just pay tribute to their extraordinary patience,” he added.

“Not only with the patients themselves, who sometimes can be quite distressed as my dad has been, but also just the relentless pressure of this and the hours that they have been working.”

As the national coronavirus lockdown three continues an NHS rainbow thank you message for all the staff at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, which has become one of the main hospitals in London dealing with Covid-19 patients at the heart of the NHS battle against the pandemic on 29th January 2021 in London, United Kingdom. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

An NHS rainbow thank-you message for all the staff at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. (Getty)

Figures released on Tuesday showed the number of hospital patients with COVID-19 in England dropped to its lowest level since the start of the year.

A total of 22,067 patients with coronavirus were in hospital as of 8am on 9 February, according to the figures from NHS England.

This is the lowest number since 29 December, and is down 36% from a record 34,336 patients on 18 January.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown