A BARRHEAD man who lost his sister to coronavirus has called for more to be done to protect others from the deadly bug.

Daily updates on the number of lives claimed by Covid-19 have become depressingly familiar but, for many people, it can be difficult to look beyond the statistics.

Of course, behind each death is a family left to grieve the loss of a loved one.

It is a situation Frank McShane knows only too well.

His 92-year-old sister Margaret passed away earlier this month – one of 11 to die from suspected Covid-19 infection at Elderslie Care Home, in Paisley.

Frank, 86, got a phone call on the morning of April 10 to tell him Margaret had died.

She had been living in the care home for about two years, after suffering two strokes.

And Frank’s immediate grief was mixed with feelings of gratitude for the care Margaret had received from staff during her time there.

There has also been a sense of frustration that, to date, so few care home workers have been tested for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, union leaders have complained that many care home staff and NHS workers across the UK are struggling to get enough personal protective equipment (PPE) as they continue to carry out a vital role on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19.

Frank told the Barrhead News: “I was delighted with the care and loving service at the care home.

“I think the victims are the workers who have not been tested. I don’t feel anything other than sorrow for them. I think our government have grossly let the people down with the treatment of the NHS staff flung into the deep end.

“My sister was dying from the day she went in there. In no way do I hold staff in any way responsible. They have been nothing short of perfect.

“The government should have been on to this a lot quicker and checking staff. It’s not the staff’s fault – they have been putting their own lives in danger.

“We need to appreciate them. I don’t have a word of criticism.”

Margaret, who was born in 1928 as the third youngest of seven in the McShane family, initially lived in Carlibar Road, Barrhead, before moving to Glasgow Road.

She worked for the civil service in Glasgow and then spent 10 years as a secretary at St John’s Primary back in her home town.

Margaret later went on to be a teacher at St Peter’s Primary, in Glenburn, Paisley, where she spent many years.

She also had a spell as a governess for children in Belgium and spent time in the USA, as her parents had done when they were first married.

Frank, who also worked around the globe through his work installing machinery, last saw Margaret more than a month ago, when the country first started locking down, but had visited her weekly before that.

Margaret had spent a year in Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital after suffering the two strokes, before moving to Elderslie Care Home.

Frank, who was an elected councillor in Barrhead in the 1960s and later moved to Paisley, described Margaret as “a generous person” but revealed her poor health had taken its toll.

“She didn’t know me and didn’t know my brother Hugh, who died last August,” he said. “She couldn’t talk or communicate.”

Bosses at Advinia Health Care, which runs Elderslie Care Home, said they have been following Health Protection Scotland guidance to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

A spokesperson added: “Every death is a great loss and our most sincere condolences go to each resident’s family and friends. They are all in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

“Our highest priority now is the safety and wellbeing of the 106 residents who have made Elderslie their home and also that of our selfless staff who are working tirelessly to help some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Barrhead’s MSP Tom Arthur MSP has expressed his condolences to the families of Margaret and others who have died.

Mr Arthur, whose Renfrewshire South constituency also includes Elderslie Care Home, said: “This is extremely sad news.

“My deepest condolences go out to the families of those who have died, their friends and loved ones, and to the staff at Elderslie who form such close bonds with those they care for.”