Coronavirus: First Briton known to have contracted COVID-19 dies in ‘tragic accident’

The first British man known to have contracted coronavirus has died following a “tragic accident” at his university in Wales, his mother has said.

Connor Reed, from Llandudno in North Wales, had been working at a school in Wuhan when he contracted the virus last December.

He initially thought it was a cold, before it developed into a serious cough and one morning he woke up struggling to breathe, telling Sky News in March: “That’s where it scared me. And I couldn’t take a full breath.”

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His mother Hayley said he had never got over the “hardship” of contracting coronavirus after he was forced to spend 20 weeks in lockdown.

Announcing his death last weekend in a Facebook post, she wrote: “Our beautiful son Connor Reed has passed away in a tragic accident at Bangor University at the weekend.

“He will be so greatly missed by his brothers, family and friends.

“He had such a wonderful smile, enthusiasm and love for life. We are blessed to of had you in our lives if only for a very short time. Rest in peace our darling.”

She told The Sun: “We will not be able to attend his funeral in the UK due to the coronavirus restrictions, therefore we will make sure we all celebrate his life at his home in Australia.”

In a statement, North Wales Police said: “Shortly after 10pm on Sunday 25 October, North Wales Police were requested by the ambulance service to attend at a student’s room at a Bangor University halls of residence.

“Regrettably, despite the best efforts of friends and paramedics, a 26-year-old student year male student was pronounced dead at the location.

“Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends following this tragic death of a young student, and we request that their privacy is respected.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner for North West Wales, Mr Dewi Pritchard Jones has been informed.”

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Describing his COVID-19 symptoms earlier this year while living in the then epicentre of the virus, Mr Reed told Sky News: “I was just feeling really bad. I was coughing a lot and subsequently I lost my voice.

“It scared me because breathing is a necessity of life, like if you have the flu, you really feel like you’re going to die, but you’re really not.

“But when your lungs get affected, that’s where it scared me. And I couldn’t take a full breath. And the breaths I did take, it sounded like I was breathing through a bag. It was very crackly, and I could only take half breaths. If I walked to the kitchen, for instance, I’d be breathing really shallow and really fast.”

He recovered from his illness and a few weeks later doctors realised he had suffered from the virus which would become known as COVID-19.

He also spoke of the “government sanctioned harsher penalties and a lot harsher quarantine” as the virus spread, but also praised the response: “China is one of the most efficient countries at getting stuff done. In regard to this outbreak, they’ve got it done. They had to. They had to take the drastic measures, that many other countries wouldn’t have taken.”

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