Coronavirus victim’s daughter appeals for people to ‘value life and stay indoors’

Breda Doherty says relatives cannot see her mother in her coffin after death from virus

The daughter of an 82-year-old woman who died from coronavirus in Northern Ireland on Monday has made an emotional appeal to the public to "wise up" and stay indoors to save lives.

"If you value life you will stay in, and do what you've been asked, please," said Brenda Doherty, "because my mum may be the fourth person to pass in Northern Ireland from Covid-19 but the sad reality is she probably won't be the last."

Ms Doherty told the BBC's Talkback programme that her mother, Ruth Burke, died in Antrim Area Hospital on Monday.

Northern Ireland's Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday night that the total number of fatalities in the North from the novel coronavirus known as Covid-19 was now five.

According to the latest available figures, which were released on Tuesday afternoon, 172 cases of coronavirus have now been identified in Northern Ireland.

In a video posted on social media, Ms Doherty said her mother was “not just a statistic”.

“You will hear that a fourth person has died [in Northern Ireland],” she said. “That fourth person was our mum that we loved and were very proud to have as a mother.”

She thanked the NHS staff and care workers who had looked after her mother over the years, describing the care they had given her as "unbelievable".

Ms Doherty said her mother’s family “couldn’t be with her when she passed. We’ll not see her in her coffin, we’ll not get to give her a kiss, but I know we did all that when it mattered, and that was when mummy was alive.

“As a family we kept our mum safe as best we could until we couldn’t keep her safe no more.”

Direct appeal

Ms Doherty made a direct appeal to the public to think of others during the coronavirus outbreak and to stay healthy and save lives by staying indoors. “Those of you out there who are being so selfish and gathering in crowds, wise up,” she said. “How selfish can you be?

“This is a time when people need to really think about others. I have half a bottle of hand wash left, because the shelves are empty.

“My mum would not believe how people would be behaving, she would have thought better of society.”

“To those out there who are helping the vulnerable and the needy, thank you,” she added.

“I know if my mum had of been at home she would have been lucky enough to have us to care for her, but not everybody has that.

“My last thing to you is to let you know that my mum was a woman who lived her life to the full, she had lots of hard times in her life but she valued life.

“If you value life you will stay in, and do as you’ve been asked, please.”