In a case believed to be the first of its kind, a South Wales coroner has ruled that a death from COVID-19 constitutes death from an industrial disease.
The inquest, listed before the Senior Coroner for South Wales Central, and enquiring into the deaths of two nurses, Gareth Roberts and Domingo David, each of whom died from COVID-19 whilst working at a hospital in the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board region.
Gareth Roberts died from COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic and was an elderly man suffering from type 2 diabetes. Issues arose as to whether appropriate personal protective equipment was made available to him. Mr Roberts worked long shifts at a time when a number of otherhospital workers developed symptoms of COVID-19 or otherwise testing positive, enabling the Coroner to conclude that Mr Roberts had contracted COVID-19 through his work.
Submissions were made on behalf of the family and the Health Board as to whether a verdict of death by industrial disease was open to the Coroner in the particular circumstances. The Senior Coroner ruled that it was and so recorded a verdict of death from industrial disease. This is believed to be the first case in which COVID-19 has been recognised as an industrial disease when contracted in a workplace setting.