Tributes to former Burberry tailor named as one of seven Stepney care home residents with coronavirus to die
- Credit: LDRS
Seven residents have died with coronavirus at a Stepney care home where another 21 people are ill with possible symptoms, it has emerged - as the family of one of the victims paid tribute to him.
A dozen members of staff from the Hawthorn Green home in Redmans Road – which has 48 residents – are also off work, either self-isolating or shielding.
The deaths will heighten fears about the threat posed by the virus in care homes and comes in the wake of a warning by the government’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty that nearly one in ten nationwide has already registered cases.
A spokesman for the care home said: “Like many care homes across the UK, Hawthorn Green is now caring for residents who are symptomatic with coronavirus.
“Regrettably, seven residents have died who had symptoms consistent with Covid-19. Twenty-one residents are showing at least one symptom consistent with the virus.
“Immediately upon detecting either a high temperature, a cough, shortness of breath or any combination of these each resident is cared for in isolation in accordance with strict infection control measures.”
Tributes have been paid to Jamshad Ali, who was one of the seven residents to die after being diagnosed with the virus.
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A retired tailor who moved to London from Bangladesh in 1962, he had lived in the home for just over three years. Mr Ali had worked for the fashion house Burberry, among others.
He died in the Royal London Hospital on March 24 after contracting Covid-19, a week after being returned to the home from an hospital admission for a chest infection.
His family had been told in the meantime by the care home that other residents had coronavirus and several more were showing symptoms.
They were not allowed to be at his bedside and only a few were permitted to attend his burial.
His daughter Luthfa Hood, 51, said: “If we had known the virus was so prevalent in Hawthorn Green we would not have sent him back there after he had been in hospital. We knew that if he got it, that would be him done.
“They should have rolled out testing and isolating earlier. He was back in A&E a few days after returning to the care home. We cannot praise the NHS enough for what they did. But there needs to be more testing, especially in places like care homes where the most vulnerable live.”
Ms Hood, 51, added: “He was always incredibly well turned out. Even after he retired he always looked so smart. I remember him coming home once when I was a child, about 10, and him handing me a little coat with a Burberry label in it. Of course I didn’t know how special that was then. He was a traditional and very hardworking man.”
Mr Ali leaves behind a wife, four children, 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His granddaughter Shahara Islam, was killed on the number 30 bus in Tavistock Square in the 7/7 bombings of 2005.
A spokesman for the care home said: “Mr Ali was a much-loved member of Hawthorn Green Care Home and he will be greatly missed – our hearts go out to his family.”
He added: “We appreciate that this is a very worrying time for residents, families and our staff and we are doing everything we can to provide the best care in the days and weeks ahead. That is our number one priority.”
There are growing concerns about the care sector’s ability to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and warnings that a lack of protective equipment for staff.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are working around the clock to give the social care sector the support they need to tackle this outbreak, including providing personal protective equipment to over 26,000 care home providers across the country.”