“In just four short weeks I lost my wife, my children lost their mother, and our lives have been changed forever all because of Covid-19”.
On the eve of the second lockdown, that is the heart-breaking reality for Khizran Sadiq whose wife Shabnum, a serving Slough Borough Councillor, died in April.
“This is a real illness with serious consequences and the people of Slough need to take it seriously,” Mr Sadiq said.
The 41-year-old said he and Cllr Sadiq left the UK almost two weeks before the UK March lockdown was instigated for a family wedding in Pakistan.
He said: “We were joking about it in the airport. There was a sign saying Covid-19 and she was telling me it was another name for coronavirus. Everything about it was new and was happening in other countries. We were just learning about it really.
“But within just days of us being there she was breathless and ill and after going to a local hospital she was moved to a main one.
“The last time I spoke to her was on the phone on the morning of 11 March when she told me she was bored and could I bring her laptop in that afternoon, then by time I got to the hospital that afternoon she was in a critical condition on a ventilator.
“She was on a ventilator for 25 days - she never came off.”
Mr Sadiq also contracted the virus and was put in a room next to his wife. He was fully aware of all the medical procedures and interventions she had before she died and could do nothing but watch.
“Our lives have been forever changed in just a month,” Mr Sadiq said.
“From a life where she worked so hard with long hours with British Airways and then in her role on the council and responsibilities to her ward residents, to being a mother and a wife doing so much in the house, it is all gone.
“For the first two months we just didn’t know what to do. We are only now just getting there.”
Cllr Sadiq was elected to Wexham Lea ward in May 2016 and served on various council committees and was, for a time, lead member for education and children’s services.
He said even as the family, including her 21-year-old daughter and 14-year-old quadruplets, still grieve he has had people speak to him and tell him symptoms are mild and they are not worried about it and they will carry on regardless without taking precautions.
“People need to take this illness seriously – it has terrible consequences – I and my children are living with them every day,” he said.
Cllr Sadiq’s father has also been hospitalised in Slough with the virus.
Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet lead for health and wellbeing, thanked Mr Sadiq for sharing his story to hopefully get others to understand the dangers of the virus.
She said: “It is truly terrible to see how one family has been forever changed because of this virus. We miss Shabnam at the council.
“This pain and sorrow is being replicated in other families in Slough and we have to work together to stop the virus spreading to more families.
“This is why the public health messages are in place to try to prevent people contracting the virus it the first place.
“Wearing a mask in enclosed spaces, unless you’re exempt, and washing hands regularly are easy things to do. While not mixing with other families and your friends is hard it helps to make sure everyone is safe.”
The lockdown begins just after midnight on Thursday 5 November.
Households are not to meet others inside homes or in private gardens. There are exemptions for people in support bubbles.
Households can go out for exercise and one person from a household can meet with one person from another household outside, in total two people, in public spaces and playgrounds.
Pubs and restaurants and non essential shops will be closed.
Educational establishments will remain open and grassroots sports have been cancelled.
More about the lockdown requirements here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november