Death toll among NHS workers during coronavirus outbreak reaches 27, Matt Hancock says

A total of 27 NHS workers have died since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Matt Hancock has said.

The Health Secretary described the deaths as “heartrending”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “Very sadly, there are now 27 verified deaths amongst NHS colleagues and I think these are incredibly heartrending.”

His comments came after the death of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong , 28, a pregnant NHS nurse who died on Sunday after contracting Covid-19.

Her baby daughter was delivered successfully by caesarean section and is doing well, according to the hospital, although it is not clear whether she has also tested positive for the disease.

“I think these are incredibly heart-rending. The story of Mary, as you say, is a terrible one,” Mr Hancock said.

“It’s something that I feel very strongly and I think the whole country, uniting as we are in our support for the NHS and carers across the board.

“We’re all deeply touched and moved by deaths of nurses like this.”

Mr Hancock said every death amongst NHS staff was being investigated to find out “what we can do better” to protect those on the front line.

Asked about the supply of PPE and testing of NHS workers, he told BBC Breakfast: “In each case, it’s important to investigate exactly what the reasons were.

“Because of course some of my NHS colleagues will have caught coronavirus from patients in the line of duty, others may have it caught it and not been at work.

“What we want to learn is what we can do better to protect our frontline workers both in the NHS and in social care, hence investigating each case to find out what happened.

“And I think we owe that to our colleagues as well who have given their lives in duty and in service.”

Mr Hancock had previously confirmed that 19 NHS staff had died  during the coronavirus outbreak, but had been criticised for underestimating the figure.


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