Coronavirus: Man, 84, ‘died from Covid-19 in January’ as daughter attacks China for ‘cover-up’

Jane Buckland says her father had a heart condition and would have been shielding had he known about the disease at the time

Clea Skopeliti
Wednesday 09 September 2020 16:36

The daughter of a British man who may have been the first person to die from the coronavirus outside China has lambasted Chinese officials for what she claims was a ‘cover up’. 

Peter Attwood, 84, from Chatham in Kent, died in hospital on 30 January, after falling ill in December with symptoms including cough and a fever. He had never travelled abroad.

Although heart failure and pneumonia were originally listed as the reason for his death, the Kent coroner has now confirmed that Mr Attwood had coronavirus in his lung tissue, The Sun reported.

Covid-19 has since been named as his cause of death — making Mr Attwood the first known coronavirus victim outside China, only 19 days after the first fatality was reported in Wuhan.

In light of the news, Mr Attwood’s daughter Jane Buckland told The Sun that if people had been made aware of the virus earlier, many more could have been saved including her father.

"If China hadn't lied to the rest of the world and kept this hidden for so long, it could have saved countless lives.

“Covid has obviously been around for much longer than we know. People have been talking about a cover-up but we don't know the scale of it.”

Chinese officials have repeatedly denied withholding information about the coronavirus.

Ms Buckland, 46, explained that her father had a heart condition and would have been shielding had he known about the disease at the time.

"My father could still be here if we'd known about the threat of this horrible virus earlier," she said.

The full-time carer said she worried she may have unknowingly infected her elderly father as she had also had Covid-19 symptoms, including a fever and a dry cough in the run-up to Christmas, when "no-one knew what (Covid-19) was".

Ms Buckland said she attended social gatherings in December, potentially unwittingly infecting others.

“I went to Christmas parties and was hugging and kissing everyone, even people I didn’t know. That’s what people do at Christmas," she said.

The coroner wrote to Ms Buckland on 27 August to inform her of the new findings concerning her late father.

A government spokesperson said: “Every death is a tragedy.

“There is no evidence that there was sustained transmission within the community in January 2020. We acted swiftly to curb coronavirus and at all times we have been guided by the best available evidence to deliver a strategy designed to protect the NHS and save lives.”

China’s ambassador to the UK has consistently denied a cover-up, claiming Beijing had "wasted no time in sharing information" with the international community.

"China's record is clean [and] it can stand the test of time and history," Liu Xiaoming said in June.

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