LONDON – When Sophia Nga’s father started coughing up blood in January 2021 and was taken to hospital from his home in central London, she was sure to see him again.
But that moment came just a few weeks later when she and her family huddled around his hospital bed to finally say goodbye while he was unconscious at the ventilator. She knows they were among the few lucky ones who could really be there when a member of their family died of Covid-19, but for weeks restrictions on the coronavirus prevented them from visiting him in the hospital and his health deteriorated.
“It was a terrible experience for him,” she said. “I feel so guilty I couldn’t be with him.”
So when Tuesday came the news that police fined Prime Minister Boris Johnson Britain for attending a party on Downing Street during a blockade that violated coronavirus laws passed by its own government, 29-year-old Ms Ngah said she was outraged.
“It’s absolutely vile if you think that our leaders – the people who set these rules, that we couldn’t be with our families – not only didn’t follow them, but they celebrated,” she said. “It really wasn’t the time to celebrate.”
Ms. Ngah, Member Covid-19 family for justice in the UKa group that aims to hold government agencies accountable for government high death toll from Covidsaid she blamed the government for her father’s death.
“These were the people who led us,” she said. “And I really believe that if the Boris Johnson government had not ruled this country at the time of the pandemic, my dad would still be alive.”
Mr. Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the finance minister, were fined for violating the blockade laws, as was Mr. Johnson’s wife Carrie Johnson. Mr. Johnson was fined for attending a party on June 19, 2020 – his birthday – organized by his wife, his office said, even as police continue to investigate other possible violations.
Many who were barred from spending time with family members dying of Kovid or other diseases, or who served at the forefront, or who made personal sacrifices to adhere to strict government closures and rules imposed during the pandemic, expressed their outrage.
Survey conducted by the online questionnaire YouGov hours after the announcement of the fines on Tuesday showed that 57 per cent of Britons surveyed believed that both Mr Johnson and Mr. Sunak must resign. About 75 percent said they believed Mr. Johnson was “knowingly lying” about breaking the blocking rules.
For many, Tuesday’s fines were the latest confirmation that Mr Johnson’s actions violated blocking rules. And for the families who died, such as Ms. Nga, it was another painful moment in months of trauma that made them feel exposed to the government and forced them to take part in a formal investigation into how the pandemic was tackled.
More than 171,000 people have died from Covid in Britain since the pandemic, according to government figures. Ms. Nga said her family was incredibly attentive because her father, Dr. Zachary Nga, was 68, and his age made him more vulnerable. Dr. Ngah, who worked at the country’s National Health Service as a psychologist for about 40 years after immigrating to Britain from Malaysia, was nonetheless positive.
A number of government scandals related to the pandemic – including the parties reports of the championship in how contracts were handed out to companies with pandemic businesses, and investigations that reveal mistakes that have cost thousands of lives – only added to the pain of her family and the like.
“The way these scandals continue to come out, drop by drop from the government – I know there will be more,” Ms Nga said.
“It’s really very painful for family members,” she said. Disproportionate impact on Asians, blacks and other minorities in Britain who have seen a much larger death toll from Covid than the rest of the population, means families like her have suffered particularly badly, she added.
Many front-line workers are also angry at the way the ruling Conservative Party developed the issue hours after the fines were announced, and at the way lawmakers in the party supported Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak.
Health workers and teachers were outraged by the comments of Michael Fabricant, a Conservative MP who, in an interview with the BBC, compared Mr. Johnson’s actions to those of “many teachers and nurses who, after a very long shift, returned to the staff room and drank quietly.”
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Pat Cullen, head of the Royal College of Nursing, wrote a letter to Mr Fabricant condemning his comments and stating in a formal complaint that they were demoralizing and in fact inaccurate.
“During the pandemic – and certainly now – most of the days nurses and support workers, when they finally finish the number of unpaid hours after the shift, come home, clean their uniforms, take a shower and go to bed,” she said. adding that at the beginning of the pandemic they were often isolated from friends and family to keep them safe.
“After one of the many hours, days and years we have worked since the pandemic was recognized, I can assure you that none of us have sought to hang out and“ have fun in the staff room, ”she said.
On social networks, one doctor shared a story of what is needed remove patients’ livelihoods as their families watched on a video call the same night the blockade violations occurred. Another, Joanna Poole, an intensive care physician and anesthesiologist who was on first aid for coronavirus, shared in a Twitter post as for the last two years there have been no parties for doctors who “all finished work, took a shower and went home, thinking which patient would last a week”.
And it’s not just the dead families of Covid victims and health workers who are feeling deeply angry at the government’s disregard for its own laws.
Louise’s 14-year-old son Bennett Fred died of leukemia in 2020 during the first national closure in Britain. His funeral took place just a day before one of the parties, which is now being investigated by London police.
She shared an image of the celebration she spent at the hospital with her son before his last birthday, a banner reading “Happy Birthday” in bright colors over his bed.
“His brother, his friends were not allowed to” come in. ” My husband was allowed to be with us for the first time in more than a week, ”she wrote on Twitter. “Fred died a week later.”
“I think it’s just vile that we’ve been through the most devastating circumstances, we personally, but everyone in the country has made incredible sacrifices,” Ms. Bennett said in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday, referring to Mr. Johnson and fines. “He passed these laws and he himself had no desire to follow them.”