Family of boy, 13, who died with coronavirus say 'stay at home'

The family of a 13-year-old who died after testing positive for coronavirus have appealed to the public to follow social distancing rules in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 4:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 4:49 pm

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, south London, died in hospital in the early hours of Monday.

The teenager, who had no apparent underlying health conditions, was described as a ‘gentle and kind’ boy with a ‘heartwarming’ smile.

He tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, a day after he was admitted to King's College Hospital, his family said.

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People wearing face masks in Commercial Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

In a statement on Wednesday, the family said: ‘We are heartbroken as a family due to the devastation caused by the coronavirus as it becomes too real for us as a family and community.

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‘Ismail was a loving son, brother, nephew to our family and a friend to many people who knew him.

‘His smile was heart-warming and he was always gentle and kind.’

The family thanked all the medics and professionals who tried to save Ismail's life.

‘We as a family are still trying to come to terms with the sudden death of Ismail.

‘He leaves behind six siblings who are completely devastated and this has been made more difficult not being able to be with Ismail while he was in the hospital,’ they said.

‘Finally, we are all praying at this difficult time for all the people affected by this Covid-19 virus and we wish everybody speedy recovery.

'We also wanted to re-iterate the need for people to listen to government guidance.

‘Covid-19 is a virus that is attacking all members of our society, not just older people or those with pre-existing conditions.

‘So please do everything you can to ensure that we adhere to social distancing; that people stay at home as much as they possibly can, to protect the NHS and save lives.’

On Wednesday, the NHS confirmed a 13-year-old with no known underlying health condition was among patients who had died after testing positive for Covid-19.

Family friend Mark Stephenson, who was speaking on behalf of the boy's mother and six siblings, said there would not be a post-mortem examination.

He also confirmed Ismail suffered from a cardiac arrest.

Downing Street described his death as a ‘tragedy’.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister's thoughts are with the family.’

A spokesman for King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘Sadly, a 13-year old boy who tested positive for Covid-19 has passed away, and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time.

‘The death has been referred to the coroner and no further comment will be made.’

Mr Stephenson, college director at the Madinah College where Ismail's sister works, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs and for the family, who also lost Ismail's father to cancer.

By Wednesday afternoon more than £59,000 had been raised, far exceeding the £4,000 target.

The page says: ‘Sadly he died without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid-19.

‘We at Madinah College would like to appeal to our brothers and sisters to donate generously to help raise £4,000 for the funeral costs and to support the family, who sadly also lost their father to cancer.’

Mr Stephenson told Good Morning Britain: ‘One of the saddest things in this whole situation is that he died alone.

‘As you know, when someone has got this infection they're in isolation.

‘So how difficult it is for a mum not to be able to be with her son at this time when he's sick.

‘Usually a mum will be at the bedside. You know, staying overnight in the hospital’

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