Families of frontline NHS and social care staff who die from coronavirus will receive a £60,000 payment, it has been announced.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said of the scheme: “I feel a deep personal sense of duty that we must care for their loved ones.”
As of Monday, some 82 NHS staff and 16 social care staff had died from COVID-19.
“They dedicated their lives to caring for others,” Hancock said.
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Announcing the life assurance scheme at the government’s daily press conference in Downing Street, Hancock said: “Families of staff who die from coronavirus in the course of their essential frontline work will receive a £60,000 payment.
“Of course, nothing replaces the loss of a loved one but we want to do everything we can to support families who are dealing with this grief.”
Hancock added the government was looking at other frontline professions which do not have access to life assurance schemes.
He said: “We are also looking at which other groups of key workers that applies to who don’t have a scheme already in place.”
It comes as the overall coronavirus death toll in UK hospitals rose by 360 on Monday – the lowest daily rise of recorded fatalities in four weeks.
The increase of deaths reported in the last 24 hours – though not necessarily taking place in that period – takes the UK’s total to 21,092.
It is the lowest recorded daily increase since 30 March, though Mondays have usually provided lower death tolls than other days of the week because of lower notification rates during weekends.
Chief medical officer for England Prof Chris Whitty said: “Nevertheless the trend overall... is a gradual decline but we’re definitely not consistently past the peak across the whole country at this point in time.”
Hancock’s announcement came after Boris Johnson returned to work following his own coronavirus ordeal, which left him in intensive care three weeks ago.
Johnson said of the virus: “If this virus were a physical assailant, an unexpected and invisible mugger – which I can tell you from personal experience, it is – then this is the moment when we have begun together to wrestle it to the floor.”