January 17, 2021

Coronavirus: Coming 5,000 miles to die for the NHS

More than 3,600 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus. Among them are frontline medical staff. Sirin Kale tells the story of two of them.

The two men did not know each other, probably their paths never crossed, but in death they would find a strange symmetry. Dr Amged El-Hawrani and Dr Adil El Tayar – two British-Sudanese doctors – became the first working medics to die of coronavirus in the UK.

Their families don’t want them to be remembered in this way – but rather as family men, who loved medicine, helping their community, and their heritage.

Like the many men and women who come from overseas to join the NHS, El-Hawrani, 55, and El Tayar, 64, left behind friends and relatives back home to dedicate their careers to the UK’s health service. They married and had children – El-Hawrani settling in Burton-Upon-Trent; El Tayar in Isleworth, London. And they became pillars of their communities, while maintaining ties to the country of their birth, the Sudan that both men loved.

Their stories are illustrative of the many foreign-born medics who even now are battling Covid-19.

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