LONDON 

The UK on Tuesday observed a minute of silence for more than 90 health workers who lost their lives while combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson who returned to office after his recovery from COVID-19 on Monday joined the action in his office in Downing Street.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed on Monday that 82 National Health Service (NHS) workers and 16 social care staff have died so far while in service.

Hancock promised the families of all medics who have lost their lives a £60,000 ($75,000) life assurance payout.

“I feel a deep personal sense of duty that we must care for their loved ones,” he said during the daily briefing on Monday.

He also said: “Today, I am able to announce that the government is setting up a life assurance scheme for NHS and social care frontline colleagues.

“Families of staff who die from coronavirus in the course of their essential frontline work will receive a £60,000 payment.

“Of course, nothing replaces the loss of a loved one but we want to do everything we can to support families who are dealing with this grief.”

The tribute came amid debates that health workers in hospitals and care homes did not have adequate and enough number of personal protection equipment (PPE).

The government has been under scrutiny over the issue of PPEs as it has acquired 84 tons of such equipment from Turkey recently.

A big shipment of PPEs is also expected from China.

The minute of silence was observed in all cities of the country, including Manchester and Birmingham, Scottish cities Glasgow and Edinburgh, Welsh capital Cardiff and Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast.

More than 21,000 people have lost their lives in British hospitals from coronavirus so far, according to official figures.

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