Coronavirus: Tory MP reveals he had to say goodbye to his father via iPad

20 April 2020, 14:29 | Updated: 20 April 2020, 15:28

By Fiona Jones

Tory MP Andrew Griffith's father was in hospital with coronavirus and he opened up to Shelagh Fogarty about having to say his final goodbyes via iPad.

The former chief business advisor to the Prime Minister recently lost his father to coronavirus and he opened up to Shelagh on his first back working.

"It's difficult and it's difficult as you'll know from so many other stories up and down the country about the way in which families are able to say goodbye and the nature of this nasty virus.

"Today's really my first day back, I took some time just to go for some long walks and one comes to terms with it.

"It touches lots of peoples' lives and sadly before we're done... most people will know somebody, a friend or a family member, that it will have affected them," Mr Griffith said.

Mr Griffiths told Shelagh that saying goodbye to his father was "very difficult." He went with his father to the emergency admissions and wasn't allowed to accompany him to the intensive care unit due to restrictions.

"The family had to say goodbye electronically in the end. it was difficult and it's not something one would aspire to in any circumstance," the Conservative MP said.

Andrew Griffith speaking about coronavirus in the Commons
Andrew Griffith speaking about coronavirus in the Commons. Picture: UK Parliament

"This was a couple of weeks ago and one of the things that struck me was how scared and fearful a lot of the doctors and nurses were at that stage. It was probably some of the first wave of deaths and even the treatments were fairly novel for everyone concerned at the time."

He credited frontline staff for their incredible focus on tackling the pandemic.

Shelagh acknowledged that we are moving at an incomparable pace and the speed with which people are having to transform their life, medical understanding and income is incredible.

"We all use superlatives way too much but this across every single front is wholly unprecedented," said Mr Griffith, "if you think about the impact on our education system, on business, on the economy, on travel, on health care, on the state of the nation's finances.

"We've never ever, not in any example of human history, had to manage so many different crises or emergencies and deal with so much change in such a short space of time.

"We will get back to something that looks much more like normal in a period of weeks or months but not everything will change back exactly as it was before."

The former chief business adviser told Shelagh that while he is keen to get economy back on track and protect employment, the "government's also right to insist that it doesn't rush too hastily into that."