The family of a 13-year-old boy who died after contracting coronavirus have pleaded for people to “listen to government advice” and stay home.
He is thought to be the youngest person in the UK to die after testing positive for Covid-19.
The teenager’s family have said they are heartbroken by his death – especially because they could not be at his side in case they too became infected.
In a statement released on Wednesday, they paid tribute to the “loving” boy who had a “heart-warming smile” and was “always gentle and kind”.
The family added: “We are heartbroken as a family due to the devastation caused by the coronavirus as it becomes too real for us as a family and community.
“Ismail was a loving son, brother, nephew to our family and a friend to the many people who knew him.
“He passed away ... without his family present and this is very painful for us as a family, particularly as a mother.”
Ismail was admitted to King’s College Hospital in London on Friday and put on a ventilator after having difficulties breathing.
His family thanked “all the medics and professionals who did all they could to save our son’s life” and the “overwhelming support” from people around the world.
“We as a family are still trying to come to terms with the sudden death of Ismail,” they added.
“He leaves behind six siblings who are completely devastated and this has been made more difficult not being able to be with Ismail while he was in the hospital.”
The family said they wanted to “re-iterate the need for people to listen to government guidance”.
They added: “Covid-19 is a virus that is attacking all members of our society, not just older people or those with pre-existing conditions.
“So please do everything you can to ensure that we adhere to social distancing; that people stay at home as much as they possibly can, to protect the NHS and save lives.”
Ismail’s relatives have decided not to release his picture for the time being.
Robert Jenrick, the housing and communities secretary, warned the virus is “indiscriminate” following a number of deaths among young people.
On Tuesday, NHS England also confirmed the death of 19-year-old Luca Di Nicola, an Italian chef living in the capital who had had no existing medical problems before contracting Covid-19.
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