Coronavirus: 'Just stay inside' pleads victim's daughter

By Caroline Lowbridge
BBC News

Michael Gerard, daughter Sushila Moles, wife Caroline Moles and grandson Elwood WhetlorImage source, Mika Moles
Image caption,
Michael Gerard had a daughter, wife, grandson and three-year-old granddaughter - who took this photo

The daughter of a man who died after being diagnosed with coronavirus has pleaded with people to follow the government's strict new rules.

Michael Gerard, 73, died in hospital on Sunday after getting pneumonia-like symptoms two weeks ago.

His daughter suspected he might have coronavirus but this was confirmed just four days before his death.

Strict new curbs on life in the UK to tackle the spread of coronavirus have been announced by the prime minister.

As of now, people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, medical or care need, and travelling to and from work where "absolutely necessary".

Image source, Jemma Cox
Image caption,
Sushila Moles said it was "strange" seeing images of parks full of people - like this one of Victoria Park in London on Sunday

Speaking over the phone from her mother's home in Leicester, Sushila Moles welcomed the new restrictions announced by Boris Johnson on Monday evening.

She and her mother are both self-isolating but are worried other people are not taking the risks seriously.

"It's so strange for me because I'm stuck in this house and have lost my dad and then I look on the news and see all these parks full of people," Ms Moles said.

"They probably don't know anybody who has died and other countries seem a long way away, but it is going to happen, this is a pandemic that is coming this way and we need to think about the vulnerable people and just stay inside and practise social distancing as best we can."

Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
Michael Gerard loved music and played multiple instruments

Ms Moles described her father as a "very frail man who has been unwell for 20 years", with health problems including Crohn's disease, glaucoma and autoimmune diseases.

"When I heard about it [coronavirus] I thought if my dad made it through this it would be a miracle," she said.

She also warned people they might have coronavirus even if they do not think they have it - as her father thought he had pneumonia.

"He wasn't too worried and neither was my mum - he was quite ill but he was kind of all right," she said.

"They had been calling the doctors who said it sounded like pneumonia which he had before and sent over some antibiotics for him to get.

"He took the antibiotics but didn't see any improvement. I was saying 'are you sure it's not corona?' because it's quite likely, this is going around."

Mr Gerard's symptoms were a chesty cough and a high fever.

He was admitted to hospital on 16 March after being ill for about a week. He was tested for coronavirus and this was confirmed on 18 March.

He died on the morning of 22 March.

Ms Moles described her father as "loving, kind and always supportive".

"He genuinely took delight in everything that I did and loved me unquestionably," she said.

"He's one of a kind and will be greatly missed."

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