A HEALTHCARE support worker has died in hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Julius Sana, 40, had fallen ill with Covid-19 while working at a private hospital which cares for people with neurodegenerative diseases in Newport.

On Sunday the married father-of-two died after suffering a cardiac arrest at the city's Royal Gwent Hospital where he had been on a ventilator for 18 days, the first of which was his daughter's fifth birthday.


He had worked as an agency healthcare worker for around four years before gaining a permanent role at St Peter's Hospital last August.

His sister, Jovelyn Villareal, who moved with him to Wales from the Philippines around 15 years ago, said she dropped Mr Sana at the hospital on April 7 after he began complaining of a fever.

She said: "He said he hadn't slept and he had a temperature of 39C.

"I called 111 and they said they would call back but didn't.

"I called back five hours later and they said they would call an ambulance, but because he was alert he was not a priority, which is understandable.

"So me and my husband brought him to the hospital.

"The last thing we did was pray together, then I left him in the hospital because they wouldn't let us in."

Ms Villareal said she spoke to her brother the following day, who told her over the phone he had been put on oxygen and antibiotics, but later that afternoon she was told by doctors he had deteriorated and had been put on a ventilator.

She said: "When he was intubated it was his daughter's fifth birthday.

"Imagine how she will remember it. It was so awful."

On Sunday Mr Sana died after suffering a cardiac arrest, leaving behind his wife, Maricar, and their 11-year-old son an five-year-old daughter.

Ms Villareal said: "There was no goodbye. We had hoped every day.

"He was so healthy and young and never smoked, so I never would have thought he would end up like this.

"After he died they allowed us to say goodbye to him over Facetime, for the last time.

"His daughter says every day 'I miss my dad'."

She added: "He didn't speak much, but he always smiled.

"He'd never argue, he was so good and everybody loved him.

"He was a simple man, he was content.

"He loved his job.

"He said it was rewarding when you are appreciated by the patient and other staff."

His sister praised staff at the Royal Gwent for their efforts treating her brother, as well as the Filipino community in Newport which she said had rallied around the family.

Mr Sana's close friend, Belle Alcid, has now launched a fundraising page to raise money for his family.

The page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/fundraising-for-julius-sanas-family