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Coronavirus victim's daughter determined mum won't be a statistic

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Ruth Burke (82) with her daughter Brenda Doherty. Pic Pacemaker.

Ruth Burke (82) with her daughter Brenda Doherty. Pic Pacemaker.

Ruth Burke (82) with her daughter Brenda Doherty. Pic Pacemaker.

The daughter of a woman who died after contracting coronavirus said she was determined her mother would not be a statistic as she pleaded with people to follow advice on preventing the spread of the virus.

Ruth Burke (82) was the first woman in Northern Ireland to die of the virus.

Her daughter Brenda said her mother suffered underlying health difficulties over the years and the virus was the “last straw”.

Ms Burke passed away in Antrim Area Hospital on Monday night. Brenda said it was heartbreaking not to be able to be by her mother's side.

“I don’t want my mother to be a statistic, she was a strong person,” she told the BBC.

In an emotional Facebook post she appealed to people to “wise up” and take the necessary precautions and look after others and not to panic buy.

She said they loved their mother deeply and would miss her very much. She thanked those that had cared for her over the years.

“To those of you out there who are being so selfish and gathering in crowds wise up... how selfish can you be?

“Now we are not going to get to see mum for a celebration of her life. We are not going to have that opportunity... that day will come.

“We could not be with her when she passed. We are not going to get to see her in her coffin. But I know we did all that when it mattered and that was when mummy was alive.”

She added: “As a family we held together and we kept our mum save as best we could until we could not keep her safe no more.

“This is a time when we need to think of others.

“If you value life you will stay in and do as you have been asked, because my mum may be the fourth ... but the sad reality is she won’t be the last.”

Health authorities have so far not commented on the death.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill offered her condolences to Ruth Burke's family.

"We have an ability as a people to do something right now that would minimise the number of people that will be sitting today like Brenda and her family, having lost a loved one," she said.

"We can do that, we can stop the spread of the virus by taking action, by being responsible, by taking the public health advice."

This is the saddest of times as a family we are devastated and heartbroken 💔💔💔💔💔

Posted by Brenda Doherty on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

It comes as Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster’s said she believes the UK lockdown will go on past its initial three week period.

People must remain at home except for shopping for basic necessities, exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work, Boris Johnson said, with police enforcing the move.

Shops selling non-essential items were told to shut, and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together are banned.

He said the measures would be reviewed in three weeks time.

On Monday a third person in Northern Ireland died after contracting the disease with 148 of those tested having tested positive.

Health Minister Robin Swann has already warned that 15,000 people could die in the region if steps are not taken to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Belfast Telegraph