Cape Town – Three African doctors are among the first medical staff to die of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, news organisation Quartz Africa reported.
Dr Adil El Tayar, who was aged 64, and 55-year-old Dr Amged el-Hawrani, both Sudanese, as well as Nigerian Dr Alfa Saadu, who was 68, collectively had over 100 years of service to the National Health Service (NHS).
El Tayar and Saadu recently retired from the medical profession but had, in light of the global pandemic, voluntarily returned to the UK to help grapple with the disease.
News broadcaster Al Jazeera reported that the UK faces a shortage of medical staff amid the pandemic which has so far killed over 4 900 people and infected about 47 000 according to latest figures on tracking portal Worldometer.
The loss of the doctors has highlighted the vital contribution from minority communities to the NHS, which is the largest employer of black and minority ethnic staff in the UK, with 40.1 percent of medical workers coming from such backgrounds, according to Al Jazeera.
In a statement, the British government said as part of the national effort to combat the coronavirus, migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics would automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year.
Home secretary Priti Patel said the extension would apply to around 2 800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics employed by the NHS whose visas were due to expire before October 1.
“Doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world are playing a leading role in the NHS’s efforts to tackle coronavirus and save lives. We owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do” said Patel.
African News Agency/ANA