Sixth Uber driver death linked to coronavirus prompt urgent calls for minicabs to be issued PPE 


The death of a sixth Uber driver linked to coronavirus has prompted urgent calls for minicabs to be properly equipped with PPE.

Father-of-four Zahid Pervaiz, 65, is the latest to die after picking up a passenger he believed was infected by the killer disease.

Mr Pervaiz, from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, died in intensive care last Friday and had saved all his life for a trip to Mecca which he was due to take next month.

His death came a day after 27-year-old Zeeshan Ahmed, whose death is also being linked to the virus.

The rising number of deaths prompted families, MPs and drivers’ associations to make a desperate plea for suitable protective equipment.

The death of a sixth Uber driver linked to coronavirus has prompted urgent calls for minicabs to be properly equipped with PPE. Father-of-four Zahid Pervaiz, 65, (above) is the latest to die after picking up a passenger he believed was infected by the killer disease 

His death came a day after 27-year-old Zeeshan Ahmed, whose death is also being linked to the virus

His death came a day after 27-year-old Zeeshan Ahmed, whose death is also being linked to the virus 

Mert Dogus, whose 49-year-old father Haci Ali Dogus (above) died at the end of March, said: 'I 100 per cent believe drivers need PPE or they need help from the Government'

Mert Dogus, whose 49-year-old father Haci Ali Dogus (above) died at the end of March, said: ‘I 100 per cent believe drivers need PPE or they need help from the Government’

Mert Dogus, whose 49-year-old father Haci Ali Dogus died at the end of March, said: ‘I 100 per cent believe drivers need PPE or they need help from the Government. 

‘If they can’t have PPE, then they should stop driving. There is this problem with not enough PPE being available for NHS workers, but cab drivers need them too.’

Mr Dogus, from Hackney, worked six days a week. Mert said his father was convinced he contracted the virus after regularly picking up passengers from Heathrow. 

‘In their cars they can’t be two meters away and they are in a confined space,’ he added.

‘But if they get ill then they have to be treated by the NHS workers anyway. The PPE might prevent all this… It is a huge dilemma.’

Yaseen Asleem, head of the United Private Hire Drivers association whose organisation represents drivers in eight cities, said PPE would save lives.

‘It is impossible to keep two meters if you are driving passengers and drivers are unnecessarily dying. They could be saved with proper PPE and Government help.

‘Many of our drivers cannot afford to give up driving and stay at home. Many are from BAME backgrounds where the ethic is to provide for their families.

In mid-March Mr Pervaiz picked up a passeng’er from Italy at Heathrow Airport whom he believed was infected with coronavirus. 

Married father-of-two Rajesh Jayaseelan, 45, died in Northwick Park Hospital on April 11 after testing positive for the virus. His friend of eight years Sunil Kumar said Mr Jayaseelan started to experience symptoms shortly after a dropping off a passenger at Heathrow

Married father-of-two Rajesh Jayaseelan, 45, died in Northwick Park Hospital on April 11 after testing positive for the virus. His friend of eight years Sunil Kumar said Mr Jayaseelan started to experience symptoms shortly after a dropping off a passenger at Heathrow

Ayub Akhtar, from Norwood in south London, was described as ‘perfectly healthy’ before he contracted the virus and died earlier this month at the age of 33. Mr Akhtar told his family he had driven a female passenger from Heathrow into London and she had coughed throughout

Ayub Akhtar, from Norwood in south London, was described as ‘perfectly healthy’ before he contracted the virus and died earlier this month at the age of 33. Mr Akhtar told his family he had driven a female passenger from Heathrow into London and she had coughed throughout

Coronavirus is also believed to have claimed the life of a former Somali footballer who drove for Uber in Harlesden, North West London. Abdulkadir Mohamed Farah Biriq, 59, (above) who left Africa and moved to London in the 90’s died after ten days in an intensive care unit

Coronavirus is also believed to have claimed the life of a former Somali footballer who drove for Uber in Harlesden, North West London. Abdulkadir Mohamed Farah Biriq, 59, (above) who left Africa and moved to London in the 90’s died after ten days in an intensive care unit

He took them into central London and fell ill a few days later, finally succumbing to the disease in intensive care last week, away from his wife, three daughters and son. 

His best friend Rashid Arshad said Mr Pervaiz drove into London frequently but had scaled back his work back to his local area in Buckinghamshire before the tragedy.

‘He was a very good man who helped others and wanted to serve God in the best way he could’ Mr Arshad said. ‘This is a very sad and tragic thing to happen.’ 

The sad death toll of minicab drivers

April 17: Zahid Pervaiz, 65, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

April 16: Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, from Tootin, south London

April 11: Rajesh Jayaseelan, 45, from Harrow in Middlesex

April 3: Ayub Akhtar, 33, from Norwood, London

March 25: Haci Ali Dogus, 49, from Hackney, London

March 24: Abdulkadir Mohamed Farah Biriq, 59, from Wembley in London 

Mr Ahmed, a father of two, died in St George’s Hospital in Tooting on Thursday.

Although he is reported to have had underlying health problems his death is being blamed on complications arising from coronavirus.

Married father-of-two Rajesh Jayaseelan, 45, died in Northwick Park Hospital on April 11 after testing positive for the virus.

His friend of eight years Sunil Kumar said Mr Jayaseelan started to experience symptoms shortly after a dropping off a passenger at Heathrow.

Mr Jayaseelan, who lived in Harrow, west London, moved to the UK from Bangalore, India, a decade ago and worked as a driver for several years. 

Ayub Akhtar, from Norwood in south London, was described as ‘perfectly healthy’ before he contracted the virus and died earlier this month at the age of 33.

Mr Akhtar told his family he had driven a female passenger from Heathrow into Central London and she had coughed throughout.

He said he feared she may have been infected and a few days later developed coronavirus symptoms before dying in intensive care around a week later.   

Cab driver Haci Ali Dogus, 49, from Hackney in London, who drove for private hire firm Addison Lee, has also died from Covid-19, leaving behind his wife Cigden and sons Mert, 17 and Ozen, 12 .

He passed away in the intensive care unit of Homerton Hospital last month from coronavirus and had no underlying health conditions. 

Mr Biriq's death was mourned on Twitter by the Somali Football Association after his family confirmed Covid-19 had claimed his life. He was born in Beledweyne and at the age of 17 made his professional football debut, playing for the Hiran region football team (with Didier Drogba)

Mr Biriq’s death was mourned on Twitter by the Somali Football Association after his family confirmed Covid-19 had claimed his life. He was born in Beledweyne and at the age of 17 made his professional football debut, playing for the Hiran region football team (with Didier Drogba)

Mr Jayaseelan, who lived in Harrow, west London, moved to the UK from Bangalore, India, a decade ago and worked as a driver for several years

Mr Jayaseelan, who lived in Harrow, west London, moved to the UK from Bangalore, India, a decade ago and worked as a driver for several years

Coronavirus is also believed to have claimed the life of a former Somali footballer who drove for Uber in Harlesden, North West London.

Abdulkadir Mohamed Farah Biriq, 59, who left Africa and moved to London in the 90’s died after ten days in an intensive care unit.

His death was mourned on Twitter by the Somali Football Association after his family confirmed Covid-19 had claimed his life.

He was born in Beledweyne and at the age of 17 made his professional football debut, playing for the Hiran region football team. 

MPs have started adding their support for greater protection 

Labour MP Nadia said on Twitter: ‘Uber and private hire drivers haven’t been given PPE, not even a drop of hand sanitiser, as they provide essential services to NHS staff.

‘They’re dying. The government must act to prevent further avoidable deaths.’ 

Labour MP Nadia said on Twitter: ‘Uber and private hire drivers haven’t been given PPE, not even a drop of hand sanitiser, as they provide essential services to NHS staff.

Labour MP Nadia said on Twitter: ‘Uber and private hire drivers haven’t been given PPE, not even a drop of hand sanitiser, as they provide essential services to NHS staff.

Labour MP Nadia said on Twitter: ‘Uber and private hire drivers haven’t been given PPE, not even a drop of hand sanitiser, as they provide essential services to NHS staff.

London Assembly member Caroline Russell said: ‘The issue is that the Government needs to have a risk assessment of the situation with the virus and private drivers.

‘There is a need for there to be clear guidelines on whether it is safe for drivers of private cabs and for the Government to take responsibility.’ 

Uber told MailOnline that it had begun distributing sanitiser, face masks and other PPE to drivers.

A spokesman said: ‘In these difficult times, we believe it is the right thing to do to support any driver who uses the Uber app.

‘Active drivers diagnosed with Covid-19 or asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days.

‘This is in addition to free AXA insurance protection, which covers sickness, injury, maternity and paternity payments for all drivers in the UK.

‘Uber has also introduced measures to ensure that every driver can access the PPE they need for free to drive safely on the Uber app, if they choose to do so.’

:: Friends of Mr Dogus have set up a gofundmepage in his memory https://uk.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-haci-ali-dogus

 

 

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