Evicted Hereford coronavirus doctor 'told to buy tent' by landlady

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Hereford County Hospital
Image caption,
Consultant Vincent Okafor was recruited to help at the hospital about six weeks ago

A doctor who volunteered to help the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak was told to buy a tent after he was evicted from his home in Herefordshire.

Consultant Vincent Okafor's landlord gave him just days notice to leave over fears he could bring the virus home from Hereford County Hospital.

As he tried to find accommodation in the city, he said one possible landlady suggested he pitched up a tent.

Luckily, he was offered somewhere to stay the day he had to leave.

The consultant geriatrician from Birmingham was recruited to help about six weeks ago and had been renting a room at a house in Folly Lane, Hereford.

He was asked on 23 March to be out just four days later.

Dr Adil El Tayar, who was the first working NHS surgeon to die in the UK from coronavirus on 25 March, had also been staying at the same property while he worked at the same hospital.

Dr Okafor said he became desperate as he "didn't have anywhere to stay to help the people I was recruited to come and help".

He tried people from a list provided by the hospital's accommodation officer and emailed more than a dozen people, but got nowhere.

He said one landlady said she had no accommodation for him after he said he was volunteering at the hospital during the pandemic.

Eviction 'justified'

"She asked, 'why don't you buy a tent?'," he said.

"I thought to myself, even if I were to do that, where would I pitch up? At the KFC car park?"

But Dr Okafor said he was finally offered somewhere to stay as he sat in his car with his luggage after finishing his shift on the last day he could be at the property.

The offer, he said, restored his faith in humanity, although he bore no animosity towards his former landlord for asking him to leave.

Image caption,
Organ transplant consultant Dr Adil El Tayar was the first working NHS surgeon to die in the UK with coronavirus

"I suppose in every community there are always going to be very good people and not so good people," he said.

Dr Okofar said Mr El Tayar had finished his work in Hereford for London two weeks prior to him being evicted.

"It goes to show that my former landlord was justified in evicting us from his house," he said.

He said he spent his last week in isolation in Hereford and did not develop any Covid-19 symptoms and returned to his family in Birmingham on 3 April.

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