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Filipino NHS scientist ‘on the forefront’ of testing dies with Covid-19

A campaign has raised more than £6,800 for the body of Richzeal Albufera to be sent back to his family.

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Richzeal Albufera died on June 9 (Family handout/PA)

Richzeal Albufera died on June 9 (Family handout/PA)

Richzeal Albufera died on June 9 (Family handout/PA)

Tributes have been paid to an NHS scientist who was “on the forefront” of virological testing during the pandemic, after his death with Covid-19.

Richzeal Albufera, a biomedical scientist at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, East Yorkshire, died on June 9 after three weeks in intensive care.

A GoFundMe page has raised more than £6,800 towards sending the 45-year-old’s body back to his family in the Philipines.

According to PA news agency analysis, he is the 30th Filipino working for the NHS or in private health and social care to have died with coronavirus.

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Also known as Rich, Mr Albufera was 45-years-old (Family handout)

Also known as Rich, Mr Albufera was 45-years-old (Family handout)

Also known as Rich, Mr Albufera was 45-years-old (Family handout)

Mr Albufera moved from the Philippines in 2005 with his wife, a nurse, and both had worked for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust since.

His colleague, radiographer Nikkie Gromet, told PA: “Rich has truly touched and continues to touch the lives of many, through his inspiring and grafting, hard work ethic.

“His work as a scientist brought him to laboratories in the Philippines, Japan, Saudi Arabia and finally the UK; in which he was on the forefront of virological testing amidst the pandemic.

“He always talked about how much he loves the work he carried out in the NHS, as it first and foremost directly helped people.

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Mr Albufera’s colleagues said he embodied what the NHS is about (Family handout)

Mr Albufera’s colleagues said he embodied what the NHS is about (Family handout)

Mr Albufera’s colleagues said he embodied what the NHS is about (Family handout)

“He is the epitome of what the NHS is all about, as no matter the ethnic background, skin colour, gender, etc the staff work there to improve and save the lives of the majority of this country, and this is what Rich embodied. The UK should be proud.

“He will also be remembered for his fun approach to life and the jokey nature he had, which always put a smile on people’s faces… He will very much be missed,” she added.

PA