'It's just so cruel': Family of two brothers with Covid-19 who died within hours of each other speak of their grief

The family of two "well-loved" brothers with coronavirus who died on the same day in opposite beds on an intensive care unit have told ITV News of their grief.

Ghulam Abbas, 59, and 54-year-old Raza Ghulam were on ventilators on Newport's Royal Gwent hospital's ICU when they died within hours of each other on April 21.

Their deaths came just three weeks after their father had died from an unrelated health condition - the same day younger brother Raza was put into a coma.

Credit: ITV News/Family handout

"My sons, not even 30, have buried their dad, their uncle and their grandfather. I think it's just so cruel this disease," Raza's partner Nicola Mincher told ITV News.

"It's really cruel. I can't even hug my boys."

The brothers ran a newsagents in Newport for many years and were well known and liked in the community.

But they were buried together the day after they died with only closest family in attendance.

Instead, Ghulam's taxi driver colleagues performed a drive-by tribute in his honour.

Credit: ITV News/Family handout

"If it had been normal circumstances there would have been a massive turnout at the funeral for both of them. They were well respected, well liked and well-loved in the community," brother-in-law Mubarak Ali told ITV News.

Ms Micher said Raza had "fought so hard" against the disease.

"I held his hand and I said, 'I love you baby, I know you fought so hard'- four and a half weeks he fought - he fought really hard.

"When he passed, his heart stopped when I was holding his hand. And then later that day his brother passed opposite him on the ventilator."

Raza with his partner Nicola. Credit: ITV News/Family handout

Coronavirus fatalities among black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups have been found to be disproportionately high.

Data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre has suggested 34.5% of critically ill Covid-19 patients have BAME backgrounds despite just 10.8% of the population being black or Asian, according to the 2011 census.

A report from the Institute for Fiscal studies report found that after accounting for differences in age, sex and geography, Black Caribbean deaths are still 1.7 times those of White British, Pakistani deaths are 2.7 times as high, and Black African fatalities 3.5 times higher.

Ghulam's taxi driver colleagues performed a drive-by tribute in his honour on the day of the brothers' funeral. Credit: ITV News

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