Hospitals’ unsung heroes

Hassan Akkad, 32, arrived in Britain as a Syrian refugee in 2015.

The World Today
3 minute READ

Sarah Whitehead

Former Assistant Editor, The World Today

Footage of his journey was broadcast by the BBC and won a Bafta. When the coronavirus struck, he began work as a hospital cleaner. This is his story.

When the virus came to England, I literally typed into Google: ‘How can I help?’ I first started delivering groceries to people in isolation and then found out that five hospitals were urgently looking for cleaners. One was Whipps Cross, in north London, which is ten minutes from my home. The idea of working as a cleaner had already crossed my mind after I read that the virus was able to survive for up to two weeks on surfaces. It was clear that disinfecting would be critical to reduce the spread. The next day I was in a COVID-19 ward hard at work.

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