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Coronavirus: Duke of Sussex makes video call to sick children

Leanne Cooper, Craig Hatch, WellChild nurse Rachel Gregory and WellChild CEO Colin Dyer, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in various locations, in this screengrab taken from a YouTube video, April 9, 2020. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Duke spoke to families and carers as part of his role as patron of WellChild

The Duke of Sussex has made a video call to families of seriously-ill children for whom catching coronavirus could be devastating.

Speaking as patron of charity WellChild, Prince Harry also urged the government to help these families more.

During a 30-minute chat the duke, who is in Los Angeles with wife Meghan and son Archie, said: "I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for you."

The Department of Health has been contacted for a comment.

During the call WellChild nurse Rachel Gregory, who supports children and young people who require long-term ventilation across Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, highlighted the worries families have about letting external carers into their home.

'Super parents'

The prince praised the families as "super parents" for their commitment to their children's needs.

"This [lockdown] is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you," he explained.

Ms Gregory said these children need "round-the-clock care, 24 hours a day".

"You can't expect parents to do that on their own," she said.

"They have to open their doors at this vulnerable time to external carers, which is a huge concern for them."

Ms Gregory also highlighted to the duke the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for parents with children at serious risk from the coronavirus .

One father on the call, Craig Hatch from Cockermouth in Cumbria, said the virus was "scary".

Mr Hatch cares for his 21-year-old son Fraser who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neuro-muscular scoliosis, osteoporosis, chronic lung disorder and type 1 diabetes.

"We are frightened because we know that if the virus gets in our house and if Fraser contracts the virus, the implications are quite severe," said Mr Hatch.

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