A chef who says he lost his father, mother and brother to Covid-19 within the space of a single week says all three had refused the vaccine after becoming frightened by misinformation.
Francis Goncalves, from Cardiff, said parents Basil, 73, and Charmagne, 65, as well as younger sibling Shaul, 40, all started feeling unwell on the weekend of 10 July after a family meal together.
Within two weeks of their symptoms appearing, all three – who were all living in Portugal – were dead.
“They got caught up in a lot of the anti-vaccination propaganda,” Goncalves said. “It preys on people who are afraid and they fall into the trap. The message I want to get out is why would the government want to hurt you by giving you a vaccine? What is the purpose behind it? I’ve spoken to so many people who are terrified of the vaccine and it costs lives.”
He added that, while his parents had underlying health conditions, his brother was the “healthiest person” he knew.
“If he wasn’t working out in the gym or running, he was going on walks,” he said. “He hadn’t drunk in 15 years and had a plant-based diet.”
He believes his father picked up the illness while in hospital for a kidney stones procedure and then it spread to all three during a family dinner.
As both his brother and father’s health deteriorated, the 43-year-old flew out to Portugal but both died before he got there. His mother was in an induced coma and died a few days later.
The family are originally from South Africa but moved to Wales in 2015. A year later, his parents and brother moved to Portugal, where his father was originally from.
Goncalves said the three had now been buried in a communal graveyard in capital Lisbon where all Covid-19 victims in the city are laid to rest.
“They said the entire time during Covid they'd never had three bodies brought in together from the same family,” he said. "I asked about exhuming the bodies at a later date and moving them somewhere outside a dedicated Covid zone, as it didn't represent my family. But they said that unfortunately not knowing enough about Covid there is no intention of moving them ever. It was really terrible."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies