Uber driver died of Covid-19 after woman 'repeatedly coughed' in cab

EXCLUSIVE – ‘I am really scared… pray for me’: Last message from fit and healthy Uber driver who died alone in hospital from coronavirus after woman ‘repeatedly coughed’ in his cab

  • Ayub Akhtar was just 33 years old when he died of coronavirus last Friday 
  • He blamed his illness on a female passenger who repeatedly coughed in his cab 
  • In a text message sent to his family from his bed in intensive care, he wrote: ‘I am really scared… pray for me. 
  • His brother Yasser said: ‘I could hear his painful coughing from his bedroom at night and that he was struggling for breath’ 

A fit and healthy Uber driver died a week after a woman ‘repeatedly coughed’ in his cab, his family has claimed.

Ayub Akhtar, from Norwood in south London, was just 33 years old when he died of coronavirus last Friday.

In a text message sent to his family from his bed in intensive care, he wrote: ‘I am really scared… pray for me.’ 

Mr Akhtar’s brother Yasser fought back tears as he described how quickly his brother’s condition deteriorated.

‘It has all happened so quick,’ he told MailOnline. ‘It destroyed him.’ 

Ayub Akhtar, a fit and healthy Uber driver, died a week after a woman ‘repeatedly coughed’ in his cab, his family has claimed

Mr Akhtar, from Norwood in south London, was just 33 years old when he died of coronavirus last Friday. His brother Yasser (left) fought back tears as he described how quickly his brother’s condition deteriorated. ‘It has all happened so quick,’ he told MailOnline. ‘It destroyed him’

Mr Akhtar, who was single and lived with his mother and siblings in Norwood, south London, began coughing and having breathing problems shortly after picking up the woman.

He had told his relatives he feared she had the virus and within days began to show symptoms of Covid-19.

Yasser said: ‘He told us about the lady coughing behind him in his Prius a few days before and that he was worried about it.

‘Then the coughing with him started and he felt cold the whole time. We had the central heating on all the whole time to help him. 

‘I could hear his painful coughing from his bedroom at night and that he was struggling for breath.’

Mr Akhtar’s sister Saleha called the NHS helpline and they asked the family to monitor his condition. 

‘When it got to the point where he could hardly breath, the paramedics came and got him,’ Yasser said.

Mr Akthar was at first admitted to the Mayday Hospital in Croydon and transferred to St. George’s Hospital, Tooting, where he passed away last Friday. 

Mr Akhtar, who was single and lived with his mother and siblings in Norwood, south London, began coughing and having breathing problems shortly after picking up the woman 

 Mr Akhtar’s sister Saleha called the NHS helpline and they asked the family to monitor his condition. ‘When it got to the point where he could hardly breath, the paramedics came and got him,’ Yasser said

‘We were not able to see him. But we knew it was bad because if we texted him, it took a day before he responded.

‘He said he was scared because the doctors were asking him to try and breath with his lungs and he couldn’t.’

Mr Akhtar, who was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, came to London with his family in his mid-twenties and had spent the past seven years as a cab driver.

His brother added: ‘He was working hard to help pay for an extension on our house and the next step would have been for him to get married and have a family.

‘Now all that has gone. It is so difficult. This has all come from nowhere.

‘We really want to thank the NHS workers for everything they did for Ayub. It must be so demoralising for them to have to see people dying like this.’

His family said he had had no major illnesses before coronavirus took his life. 

‘Ayub was a tolerant man, really well balanced. He was a Muslim and respected everyone. He loved his family and we loved him.

Yaseen Asleem, head of the United Private Hire Drivers association, said it was impossible to keep a social distance of 2 metres as a driver. ‘We are not saying to people that they shouldn’t drive. But it is a mess because there are no clear guidelines’

‘This is such a difficult time. We haven’t been allowed to see him and don’t know when we can have the funeral. In our religion, we prefer burials to be done within a day or two.’

Yaseen Asleem, head of the United Private Hire Drivers association, said it was impossible to keep a social distance of 2 metres as a driver.

‘We are not saying to people that they shouldn’t drive. But it is a mess because there are no clear guidelines.’ 

Mr Asleem, whose organisation represents drivers in eight cities in Britain, added: ‘There needs to be better safety advice directed at drivers from the government.’

:: The family and friends of Mr Akhtar have set up a crowd funding page to help with funeral expenses.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/ayub-akhtar-memorial 

 

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