Coronavirus: Family of dead boy, 13, 'happy' with policy change

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A mourner watches as the coffin is lowered into the ground during the funeral in the Eternal Gardens Muslim Burial Ground, Chislehurst of Ismail Mohamed AbdulwahabImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab's funeral took place at the Eternal Gardens Muslim Burial Ground

The family of a teenager who died alone after testing positive for coronavirus say they are "happy" his death has opened up the chance for others to say a final goodbye to loved ones.

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London, died in King's College Hospital on 30 March.

His family were unable to attend his funeral as they were self-isolating.

On Wednesday, the government announced close family members would be able to see dying relatives to say goodbye.

Ismail's sister, who did not want to be named, told the Press Association: "I'm happy they are going to try and facilitate for families to say goodbye.

"I think, with everything happening so fast, it is hard to accept reality, especially when you don't see them during their last moments."

Her comments came after she watched Mr Hancock tell a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday that the sight of Ismail's coffin "being lowered into a grave without a member of his family present was too awful".

Ismail, who had no apparent underlying health conditions, had tested positive for Covid-19 a day after he was admitted to hospital on 26 March.

It is understood he died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Social distancing was enforced at the funeral

He was described by his family as a "gentle and kind" boy with a "heart-warming" smile.

Mark Stephenson, a family friend who spoke at Ismail's funeral, said he was pleased by the policy change.

He added: "As bad as it all was, it has raised awareness of what families are going through."

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