TRIBUTES have been paid to two NHS nurses from the same hospital who died with coronavirus at the weekend.
Sophie Fagan, 78, a support worker at Homerton Hospital who “refused to retire”, died on Sunday after contracting Covid-19.
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Michael Allieu, 53, a “larger than life” acute care nurse, died the day before.
The double tragedy comes as Britain's coronavirus death toll rose today to at least 16,489 after 429 more people died in England.
It's the lowest daily increase in hospital deaths this month.
Up to 95 medics and carers are feared to have died with Covid-19 in the UK.
Sophie began her nursing training as a 16-year-old after arriving in the UK from India and had worked in the Homerton for years.
She spent 50 years working in healthcare in Hackney after qualifying as a nurse in 1966.
Sophie hadn't been working on the coronavirus frontline, but was liaising with carers in her role at the Homerton before she died.
Michael had worked as a staff nurse since 2007 and was a key member of the team in the Acute Care unit,
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He had been in the hospital suffering from coronavirus for several days.
Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to Sophie as “part of the healthcare fabric in Hackney” and Michael as a “member of the Homerton family”.
Tracey Fletcher, the Trust's chief executive, said: “Sophie Fagan was an extraordinary woman and well known across the Homerton site and indeed Hackney for over 50 years.
“Sophie was 78 when she died and still working.
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"She refused to fully retire and although she did reduce her hours she was often to be found meeting relatives and supporting staff in the hospital when she wasn’t due to be. "
Ms Fletcher also praised "vibrant" Michael, who was "well known and very well liked throughout the hospital".
She said: "He will be greatly missed by all his colleagues both in the ACU and the wider Homerton Hospital community.
"Our thoughts and condolences are with his family at this sad time."
Downing Street today backed calls for Brits to hold a minute's silence for NHS staff who have died fighting coronavirus.
A spokesman for No 10 said: "We are actively looking at it. We think it is a good idea."
Other hospital workers to die with the virus recently include Simon Guest, described as a “true gentleman” and Ruben Munoz, who a colleague called a star.
Scotland today recorded 12 more fatalities, bringing its total number of deaths from the virus to 915.
Nine more people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of deaths there to 584, health officials said.
Meanwhile, doctors threatened to stop treating patients as a delivery of 400,000 protective gowns was delayed.
RAF aircraft were due to be flying in 84 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) from an airbase in Turkey yesterday.
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Yesterday, we backed a proposal by Lord Ashcroft to honour our health heroes with the gallantry gong given for acts of bravery that did not take place in battle.
A No10 spokesman said: “The NHS is doing a fantastic job and the nation will want to find a way to say thank you when we have defeated this virus.”
SAS hero Andy McNab added: “The award of a George Cross would show an emotional appreciation.”
We are asking readers to sign the petition online at thesun.co.uk/georgecrossfornhs.
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