LONDON (Reuters) – Families of British health and care workers who die on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic will be paid 60,000 pounds ($74,472) as part of a new life assurance scheme, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday.
Britain has one of the world’s highest death tolls – 21,092 hospital deaths and thousands more yet to be quantified in care homes. Among those, 98 health and care service workers are known to have died after testing positive for the virus, Hancock said.
“The government is setting up a life assurance scheme for NHS (National Health Service) and social care frontline colleagues,” Hancock said.
“Families of staff who die from coronavirus in the course of their essential frontline work will receive a 60,000-pound payment.”
The scheme is aimed at families of those who die from coronavirus during the course of essential and life-saving work, and includes those providing direct care as well as cleaners and porters.
It only applies to workers in England, but devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will receive central government funding for similar programmes.
The government has put thousands of recently retired medical staff back into action and fast-tracked final-year students to the front line to cope with the surge in demand for health services during the outbreak.
(Reporting by William James and Estelle Shirbon, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)