A 13-year-old boy with no underlying health conditions has become the UK's youngest victim of the coronavirus pandemic as the death count from COVID-19 continues to rise in the country.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab was admitted to a London hospital after suffering breathing difficulties and died on Monday.
An online fundraiser organised by Arabic educational institution Madinah College in the UK capital has raised over 56,000 pounds in funds for the boy's grief-stricken family within days.
"Ismail was only 13-year-old without any pre-existing health conditions and sadly he died without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of COVID-19," the fundraiser page notes.
"We at Madinah College would like to appeal to our brothers and sisters to donate generously to help raise GBP 4000 for the funeral costs and to support the family, who sadly also lost their father to cancer," it adds.
Madinah College said it had been "overwhelmed" by the generosity of the donors as the appeal way overshot the initial target. It has confirmed that any extra money raised will also go directly to the family.
The schoolboy from Brixton in south London started showing symptoms of coronavirus last week and was rushed to hospital after he had trouble breathing. There he tested positive for Covid-19 and was put on a ventilator then into an induced coma but never recovered. "We are beyond devastated. To our knowledge he had no underlying health conditions," said a statement released by the family.
The London hospital has expressed condolences to the family as it confirmed that the boy's death had been referred to the coroner. Dr Nathalie MacDermott, clinical lecturer at King's College London, said the 13-year-old boy's death highlights the importance of taking the precautions required to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
She said: "It is important that a coroner assesses whether a post-mortem is necessary to further understand the exact cause of death. "While chronic underlying medical conditions are known to result in worse outcomes in COVID-19 infection, we have heard of cases of younger individuals with no known medical problems succumbing to the disease."
It is extremely rare for teenagers to become seriously ill after being infected with coronavirus, with elderly patients and those with underlying health conditions considered most at risk. The news of the boy's death came in the week that the UK registered its biggest day-on-day leap in death count from coronavirus of 381, to hit a total of 1,789 deaths on Tuesday.