Cross-party committee calls on Boris Johnson to meet with families who lost loved ones to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 14:35 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:35 25 August 2020

Prime minister Boris Johnson has been urged by MPs to meet with 'long Covid' sufferers; Molly Darlington/PA Wire

Prime minister Boris Johnson has been urged by MPs to meet with 'long Covid' sufferers; Molly Darlington/PA Wire

A group of MPs have urged Boris Johnson to meet with the families of those who lost loved ones to coronavirus in person.

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The cross-party group said Johnson should allocate more funding towards research on the long-term effects of the virus and meet with “long Covid” sufferers.

MPs on the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on the coronavirus inquiry, which issues recommendations every two weeks, heard from 1,100 people who either lost loved ones to the illness, or who continued to suffer its long-term effects.

One woman, The Guardian reports, said she had to say goodbye to her father over a rushed video call using a personal phone lent be a nurse. He later died alone.

Another, the mother of a 21-year-old woman, told MPs she believed her late daughter would have been protected from the virus while in hospital.

The inquiry also documented 18 reoccurring symptom of “long Covid” - a term used to describe people who still struggle with the effects of the virus months later. They include lasting breathing problems, purple toes, aching muscles and exhaustion.

Chair and Liberal Democrats MP Layla Moran said: “Those living with the long-term impact of Covid have become the forgotten victims of this pandemic. Many are suffering daily from debilitating symptoms but feel they’re not being listened to or taken seriously.

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“It’s vital the government listens to these concerns and steps up support including for those who weren’t hospitalised or tested. We also need further efforts to boost research into treatments that could provide much-needed relief to patients.

“We’ve heard harrowing evidence from those who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease and have been given the cold shoulder by No 10. The prime minister must commit to meeting with bereaved families and agree to their calls for a judge-led public inquiry.”

MPs also called on Johnson to meet with bereaved families in person after previous requests were turned down.

They also urged the prime minister to agree to a judge-led inquiry into the pandemic response and specialised mental health services to bereaved family members.

The cross-party group of MPs, which was formed earlier this summer, includes the Tory MP and group vice-chair, Dan Poulter, Labour’s Clive Lewis, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts, the Scottish National Party’s Philippa Whitford, and the Green Party life peer Jenny Jones.

The prime minister said in the Commons on 22 July that he would listen to the recommendations put forward by the committee.

A government spokesperson said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones. As we continue our fight against this global pandemic, we are constantly learning more about the impact of coronavirus not only on immediate health, but on longer-term physical and mental health too.

“To support this we are funding one of the world’s largest research studies to track its impact on the most seriously affected patients, backed by £8.4m, to ensure future treatments are as tailored as possible and more lives are saved.”

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