Family of British medic to die from coronavirus tells of pain

The heartbroken family of the first NHS worker to die from coronavirus have said that it he was ‘properly protected’ he might still be alive today amid a wave of criticism directed at the Government’s handling of Covid-19 tests.

Dr Adil El Tayar, a working surgeon, died on Wednesday at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth, west London. 

His son Osman El Tayar told Sky News last night: ‘My dad came here in the early 1990s from Sudan and we were all raised here. We’ve received so much from this country, but I worry about his final days and wonder if enough was done to protect him. I suppose if he was properly protected perhaps this wouldn’t have happened.’

Dr Adil El Tayar, a working surgeon, died aged 64 on Wednesday at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth as his family have expressed doubts about how well protected he was

It comes after a site dedicated to testing NHS workers for the deadly virus was seen standing deserted on Tuesday.

His daughter Abeer El Tayar said: ‘I loved him so much. I can’t put into words how sad our family are. I just wished that we could have taken him to hospital earlier but it wasn’t until my dad was short of breath, that’s when after calling the ambulance we were taken more seriously.

‘But before that when it was just the fever we were told to stay at home. If we could have caught the coronavirus earlier on, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.’ 

The father of four children, two of whom are doctors in the NHS, would work up in the Midlands during the week, returning to London on the weekends before he died aged 64.  

Dr El Tayar had worked in Saudi Arabia and Sudan as well as at St Mary’s and St George’s hospitals in London.

He graduated from the University of Khartoum in 1982 and moved to the UK in 1996, where he studied at the University of West London.

His family’s comments come as Government ministers are being told to get a grip on coronavirus testing as the health secretary closes a loophole that left thousands of its unused and a vast NHS swabbing station stood deserted. 

Matt Hancock tonight intervened to end the embarrassing situation in which the number of tests carried out is short of capacity. 

A source said the Health Secretary had scrapped a rule that 85 per cent of tests were reserved for patients, regardless of how many needed testing. 

Workers were seen sitting, standing around and stretching at the testing centre in Chessington, south-west London today

Pictured: The Harrogate Convention Centre was a hive of activity amid reports that it is going to join facilities around the UK providing extra beds to treat patients

A huge NHS coronavirus swabbing site stood deserted today despite the urgent need for more patients and medics to be examined.

Pictures surfaced showing a testing site for NHS staff in Chessington, south-west London, as the UK’s Covid-19 death rate doubled.

No tests appeared to be underway for the virus as the car park sat empty apart from workers’ cars and staff stretched outside the centre.

It came as a record-breaking 381 coronavirus deaths were announced in the UK today, taking the total to 1,789 fatalities. 

It marks the darkest day so far for the NHS, which has seen patients dying by the dozen in hospitals in every corner of the country. 

Meanwhile, around 30 staff at the testing site were seen standing around as nobody entered from outside all morning.  

Boris Johnson is said to be taking control of ensuring chemicals vital to test kits arrive in the UK amid the criticism. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said at yesterday’s Downing Street press conference: ‘The prime minister and the health secretary are working with companies worldwide to ensure that we get the material we need to increase tests of all kinds.’ 

Pictured: Stewards organise traffic at a Covid-19 test centre for NHS workers which has opened at Ikea’s store in Wembley, north-west London

Pictured: An NHS worker wearing a mask and goggles takes a man with an unknown condition from an ambulance at the St Thomas’ Hospital on March 31, 2020 in London

Pictured: British Army soldiers get instructions outside the ExCel center which is being turned in to a 4,000 bed temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in London, Tuesday, March 31, 2020

There was little activity at the Chessington coronavirus testing site which was set up as a drive-thru for NHS workers who need to get tested 

Pictured: The testing centre at one of Chessington World of Adventures’ car parks which was largely deserted this morning despite the rise in death rates from the novel coronavirus 

Staff appeared to have little to do at the Chessington World of Adventures site which has been set up to test NHS workers to see if they can return to work 

Pictured: The deserted car park at the testing centre designed to find out which NHS staff have had or do have the Covid-19 virus as countries battle the pandemic 

Workers appeared to have little do at the Chessington testing site for NHS staff amid the coronavirus pandemic and Britain’s deadliest day so far during the crisis 

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Scientists have accused health chiefs of snubbing their expertise, as experts at the Francis Crick Institute and Oxford University told the Daily Telegraph that Public Health England had left them ‘sitting on their hands’. Oxford University has 119 machines that can be used to identify tell-tale genetic signs of the virus, but Government officials have only so far accepted one. The Francis Crick Institute has supplied five machines to the NHS, but has dozens more that aren’t being utilised in the fight against the pandemic. 

The Government is under attack for failing to ramp up its testing quickly enough – only 8,240 patients were screened over the past 24 hours.

Today the Mail reveals that a British firm is selling kits to 80 countries, including India. Novacyt said a shortage of NHS testing facilities had prevented further UK sales. Separately, a former World Health Organisation chief said the Government’s health protection agency had been ‘slow’ over testing and that 44 labs were underused.

No10 admitted its target of carrying out 25,000 tests a day might not be hit until May. As the NHS’s medical director said the number of new cases seemed to be stabilising:

No 10 insisted it was OK to shop more than once a week contrary to suggestions from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps;

Ministers are planning to release an app to alert mobile users to nearby virus victims;

Police who used drones to spy on dog walkers at beauty spots insisted they were only trying to save lives;

British Airways suspended all flights to and from Gatwick following a collapse in demand;

Up to £200million worth of plants are expected to be destroyed by closed garden centres;

MPs demanded a crackdown on banks after business owners were told to risk their homes and savings to secure loans;

Global coronavirus cases rose to 823,566 with 40,643 deaths.

A drive-thru test centre was established at Chessington World of Adventures and was seen up and operational from Friday to Monday.

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But on Tuesday the site – which sits in one of the theme park’s car parks – was quiet as Britain’s daily  fatalities figure surged more than twice as high as it was yesterday, when only 180 new fatalities were announced. 

Office for National Statistics data showed today that 210 people had died in the UK by March 20, when the Government had only recorded 170 in the same time frame – a difference of almost a quarter. If that ratio remains true the true number of fatalities could be 2,230 or more.  

Pictured: The quiet and empty testing site at Chessington World of Adventures in south-west London this morning

Pictured: The quiet Chessington coronavirus swabbing site this morning where no NHS staff were seen entering for testing

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