An NHS nurse, who fought for his life alongside Boris Johnson, has died from coronavirus.
Larni Zuniga, 54, passed away after battling the disease in intensive care at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital. The nurse, from the Philippines, was being treated in the same intensive therapy unit like the Prime Minister, his family confirmed.
Tributes have been paid to the married father who “touched the lives of the people around him.” Mr. Zuniga’s cousin, who is also a nurse, said: “Larni was a true professional, who touched the lives of many.
“He made a tremendous difference to a lot of people’s lives and he was highly respected patients and colleagues alike.”
Mr. Zuniga, who worked at a care home in Bagshot, Surrey, died after a three-week fight in intensive care at St Thomas’s, where he was said to be “one of the sickest patients”.
The much-loved health worker had worked in the UK for 12 years and had not seen his family for five years, Daily Star reports. He was in the process of applying for his wife, Edith, to join him in the country before he was struck down Covid-19.
Writing on a GoFundMe charity page, friend Arnold Barrientos said he wanted to raise money to support Mr. Zuniga’s family in memory of “this hero”. Mr. Barrientos said: “Larni had absolutely sacrificed a lot for his family.
“He worked hard and he battled hard times of not seeing his family just to ensure a comfortable life for them. “He influenced a lot of people with his godly counseling and loving, warm personality.
“He had so many unfulfilled dreams concerning his family due to this early demise but with the little, we can give at least would help to alleviate some of their concerns.”
His daughter Mutya wrote on Facebook: “I just can’t stop crying. It’s too painful to bear. “You touched the lives of the people around you and made us so proud of you. You are the best dad! Thank you for all the sacrifices for our family.”
First Secretary Dominic Raab said 78 NHS staff and 16 carers had died from Covid-19 – though delays in reporting mean the true figure is probably higher and estimates suggest well over 100 have tragically perished.