Syrian refugee’s message to Boris Johnson

A Syrian refugee on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus in the UK has a message for PM Boris Johnson.

A Syrian refugee working in a London hospital has said in a message addressed to United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson he feels “betrayed” by the government after learning his family would not be allowed indefinite leave to remain in the country if he died while helping battle the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Hassan Akkad, a 32-year-old refugee who won BAFTA and International Emmy awards for documenting his journey from Turkey into Europe, asked Johnson to reconsider the decision after minimum-wage migrant workers, including porters, cleaners and social care staff, were omitted in a bereavement scheme.

Akkad posted his video message on Twitter, hoping the video would reach Johnson, who spent a week in hospital last month after contracting the virus.

“I’ve been really enjoying the clapping that you and your fellow ministers in the government do every week,” Akkad said. 

“Today, however, I felt betrayed, stabbed in the back. I felt shocked to find out that you’ve decided, your government decided, to exclude myself and my colleagues who work as cleaners and porters and social care workers, who are all on minimum wage, you’ve decided to exclude us from the bereavement scheme.”

“So, if I die fighting coronavirus, my partner isn’t allowed an indefinite leave to remain. This is your way of saying ‘thank you’ to us?” 

This clip was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Seena Khalil.