A GRANDMOTHER was the first in Britain to die after contracting coronavirus while in hospital, say her family.

Retired cleaner Marita Edwards, 80, went to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport last month for a routine gallbladder operation.

However, the she is believed to have caught an infection during her three weeks stay in the hospital.

Free Press Series:

Her family were initially told it was was pneumonia but last Thursday she died - a day after testing positive for coronavirus.

Son Stuart Loud said: “I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what our family is going through right now.

”We couldn’t hug her or kiss her. We couldn’t hold hands. We took it in turn to sit with her and hold a mask to her face."

Mother-of-two Mrs Edwards was one of five patients to die in the Royal Gwent last week - and the region is the worst hotspot outside London for the virus.
She is one of 16 coronavirus deaths so far in Wales.

Mrs Edwards, of Bulwark, Chepstow, was a “very fit lady” who regularly played nine holes of golf.

She was admitted to hospital for the operation on February 28 but was not diagnosed with the virus until Thursday.

Her son said: “Doctors afterwards were absolutely beside themselves that this had happened so quickly and that they didn’t pick it up earlier."

Company manager Mr Loud, 50, said: “I do feel there was a ventilator lottery with my mum.

"I think bets were hedged on whether younger people might be infected and would need that equipment. The fact that my mum was 80 was probably not in her favour.

"I don’t think the resources are there, and the medical profession isn’t quite ready for this.”

Her son said that until last week, Mrs Edwards was allowed to be seen by hospital visitors in the normal way - but her son said she was isolated in the last week of her life.

Mr Loud added: “Once they had suspicions that there might be coronavirus, they isolated the ward. We then had to go through a protocol every time we entered, with masks, gloves and aprons.

Mr Loud, his stepfather and daughter are all now in self isolation.

"We can't organise a funeral. Everything is on hold," he said.

Mr Loud had been due to get married in four weeks time.

"My mum's whole wish was to be there," he said. "The one thing that kept her going was to be at my wedding and that won't be the case."

He said his message for the public is "please, please listen to what you're being told".

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board declined to comment on an individual case.

A Public Health Wales spokesman said: “We have a responsibility to protect individuals tested and patients being treated for coronavirus.

"For this reason we will not share any information on these individuals other than that published in our official statements.”