Jeff Howes, 58, has shared the final moments of the life of his mother Jean Howes, 87, in an emotional post on social media. Mr Howes, who lives in Coventry, urged Britons to halt normal life and stop thinking COVID-19 will not affect them. In a message on Facebook, he said: “It is just madness that people are still going out in groups or having barbecues and carrying on with normal life.
“We were probably the same as everybody else thinking, this is a horrible thing but it won’t affect us.
“If you are thinking like that, it can happen to you and when it does, it hits hard. I think there needs to be more of a clampdown and do what other countries have done.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK on lockdown and only permitted Britons to leave their home for food, medical supplies, exercise and essential work.
Mr Howes said he would only go out with his mother once a week to do their weekly shop and claims she may have contracted the virus when going outside to visit to her local store.
He said: “I would drop her there, I wouldn’t go around with her, she would do her shopping and I would do my shopping and meet her at the tills to take her home again.
“Mum was a good age, but she still had her independence until the end. The last time I took her shopping was a week last Sunday.
“She had a little bit of a cold. I said, ‘do you want me to do your shopping for you?’ But she wanted to go herself.
“Unfortunately, as the week went on, the symptoms got worse. It progressed quite slowly to start with, more or less just a cold. I was checking up on her obviously.
“She didn’t seem to have the typical issues associated with the virus. She wasn’t coughing, she thought her temperature was okay.
“It got a little bit worse during the week. You expect a cold to start off slow and then get a little bit worse but it didn’t seem to be getting better.”
UK stores have implemented a number of precautionary measures to help contain the spread of the virus including limiting the number of people, placing markers on the floor to help with social distancing and making hand sanitisers available on entrance.
Mr Howes said his mother’s condition continued to deteriorate and was admitted into Coventry University Hospital last Friday.
Mr Howes said his mother was not showing typical signs of the virus and medics initially thought she had a chest infection, but her cough continued to get worse and had developed a fever.
He said he was initially denied the chance to visit his mother, who was placed under strict isolation, but were then able to visit her final moments if they wore protective suits.
He said: “At the end we were allowed to see her if we wore full protective suits which we did. It was heartbreaking.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what we have gone through and that’s why I’m begging people to stay at home and obey the rules on social distancing.”
Mrs Howes was later diagnosed with COVID-19 and died on Monday afternoon.
The poignant Facebook post has since gone viral with more than 40,000 likes and Mr Howes said he hoped his message could help to save a life.
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He said: “I can’t believe how mad it’s gone, it is just crazy. It’s all over the world. I just hope the message gets through before more people die like my mum did.
“Hopefully, even if it saves one person, then that little bit of effort was worth it.”
In the UK 9,529 people have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Department for Health has confirmed 465 people have now died from contracting COVID-19 – an increase of 43 in the past 24 hours.
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