EXCLUSIVE: Rivka Gottlieb lost her beloved dad Michael in April after he showed signs of having the virus the day before the nation was plunged into a lockdown – he died the following month
A heartbroken daughter said she relives the trauma of her dad dying from Covid every time a new lockdown party scandal emerges.
Rivka Gottlieb lost her beloved dad Michael in April after he showed signs of having the virus the day before the nation was plunged into a lockdown.
As the virus took a hold of the 73-year-old Rivka was unable to visit him at home or be at his side as he later died in hospital.
Rivka, from north London, is one of thousands of families across the UK who were robbed of saying goodbye to their loved ones face-to-face due to strict Covid rules.
Rivka has spoken to the Mirror after Boris Johnson has been accused of being involved in yet another lockdown party – the fourth to date.
An email emerged on Monday showing more than 100 No10 staff were invited to a ‘bring your own booze’ drinks party on May 20, 2020 during the first lockdown.
Witnesses said about 40 staff attended on 20 May 2020, including Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie – and there were long tables laden with drink, crisps, sausage rolls and other picnic food.
Outdoor gatherings were banned in England at the time under Covid rules.
Rivka said: “Every time another revelation arises the wounds of losing my dad are being reopened. The trauma appears again.
“This isn’t just about the Government failing this is about them flipping the rules to suit them.
“On the day they held that party it was my nephew’s 10th birthday. He had just lost his grandad and was not allowed to throw a party instead we had a zoom meeting.
“Yet the Government were having a lockdown party. It’s disgusting.”
Recalling when her dad fell ill Rivka said he first developed classic Covid symptoms on March 22.
“My dad was working part-time at a golf club and he had been sent home before the lockdown because of his age.
“He had such a great sense of humour and was really living his life when he fell ill.
“He developed a sore throat and a fever before the cough came at home. We spent nine days trying to get through to 911 before he was rushed to hospital.”
By then the country was in lockdown so Rivka was unable to visit her dad and in a cruel twist her mum had caught Covid too and they were both in hospital at the same time.
Rivka said: “My mum got better and was discharged but we weren’t allowed to go to her home and look after her.
“My dad was put on a ventilator and died two week later. We could’t be with him.”
The email invite to the lockdown party was reportedly sent by Boris Johnson ’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds and suggested invitees should “make the most of the lovely weather ” by partying outside.
Just weeks before Rivka and her grieving family were outside too – not to party but to say goodbye to her dad as due to Covid rules it was banned from taking place indoors.
“There were only nine of us and the funeral had to take place outside because we weren’t allowed in the prayer hall,” Rivka explained.
“My mum also had to stand on her own because she was from a different household. We couldn’t comfort her while she said goodbye to her husband and our dad.
“We couldn’t gather together and we couldn’t even be at his graveside when his coffin was lowered which is an important part of out Jewish religion.
“It makes me so angry the Government held lockdown parties while we were banned from holding a Shiva (a Jewish wake) it had to be done over zoom.”
Whitehall enforcer Sue Gray is leading the probe into a series of rule-busting parties at No 10 and across Government after explosive revelations first reported by the Daily Mirror.
Sources now expect Ms Gray will have to interview the Prime Minister himself – as he was said to have been present at four of the events she is looking into.
The Met Police have insisted that they do not investigate Covid breaches retrospectively and have refused to look into alleged previous breaches – in one case saying there was “no evidence” to launch a probe.
A decision that has appalled Rivka.
She said: “I find it shocking that the police are refusing to investigate the parties. How can they say there’s no evidence to investigate when it’s their job to investigate and find the evidence.”
Rivka has now been forced to give up her freelance work and look after he mum who is battling with long Covid.
“The Government are behaving like the virus has gone way but it hasn’t. My mum now has long Covid and needs care.
“Boris needs to take this virus seriously and come clean. If he was at any of those parties then his job is untenable.
“We never got to say goodbye to my dad properly because we stuck to the rules.”
A Met Office spokesperson said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on 20 May 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.