The family of a woman with coronavirus who died alone in hospital last month because visitors are banned, have called on President Nicos Anastasiades to intervene so that a way is found for inpatients to be able to see their loved ones.

In a letter to the president, published in Phileleftheros, the family said their mother and grandmother died on March 21 at the coronavirus reference hospital in Famagusta all alone because they were not allowed to go visit her.

The family who referred to their mother and grandmother as their “queen” said she was a cancer patient and they believe she contracted Covid-19 either at the Kyperounta hospital where she had been admitted a few months ago when her condition deteriorated, or the Limassol hospital where she had gone for a CT scan.

After being diagnosed with coronavirus, she was taken to the Famagusta hospital.

“She was deprived of us and we were deprived of her for a month to protect public health though she was infected by it,” the family said.

They said visits were not allowed and, as their mother could not use technology, a nurse used to call them for her. She was unable to understand why they could not visit her and kept asking then why.

“What were we supposed to tell her when she asked us, ‘when will you come? Why have you disappeared? Did something happen to you?’” they said.

The family had nothing but praise for the hospital staff but said nothing could substitute for her husband, children, and grandchildren. They added that the measures in place forced their mother, who, in her last moments, needed them more than ever, to die alone.

They said the restrictive measures ignored the feelings of people whose end is near.

“You ignored their need for their own people to hold his/her hand. You ignored their need to say goodbye. You condemned our loved one to die alone,” the family said.

“We got to the point of praying that the small degree of dementia she had was greater so that she did not know what was going on.”

They acknowledged that many other families have experienced the same, watching loved ones die alone, but that did not diminish their pain and bitterness.

They suggest that short visits should be allowed, with visitors wearing protective gear, or that people can see patients through a glass, just like in neonatal units. They also suggest that visitors could present a negative rapid test result or, for patients to be taken to special areas so that their families can say goodbye. They also called for the appointment of a person in charge of helping patients, who are unable to use technology to contact their loved ones.

“When a person leaves there is no return. You cannot apologise to them, you cannot make amends, (…) Do something,” the letter ends.