A nurse who was struck by Covid-19 near the start of the pandemic and was hospitalised for nine weeks says he is taking things “step by step” as he continues to recover.

Franco Palo who contracted the virus at the age of 47 last year, was discharged from Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow on June 27, 2020 after his nine-week battle with the virus.

After waking up more than a month later in intensive care, Mr Palo became around the 1,000th patient to be discharged at the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

The senior charge nurse was cheered out of Northwick Park Hospital by his colleagues after initially overcoming the virus, but even now he still continues to suffer from the long-term effects of the virus.

Initially, he had been treated for pneumonia before being rushed to the accident and emergency department where he worked several days later with a high fever and shortness of breath.

The father of three assured his wife “I will come back,” before being admitted to hospital and being put on a ventilator.

At the time he doubted if he would ever wake up, but after nine-weeks he was thankful as his colleagues celebrated him leaving the hospital.

After coming back home, he said he was “plagued” with nightmares and woke up with cold sweats thinking he was still in intensive care.

Initially, he couldn’t even climb the stairs and had to have a makeshift bedroom downstairs for several months.

He said: “I still have periodic bouts of breathlessness but things are slowly getting better. I just take it a day at a time but get fatigued easily. I want to come back to work but worry about having the strength to work a full shift. I want to contribute, not just make up the numbers.”

While he is thankful to still be alive, he lost his brother, an aunt and several friends to the virus.

He is also in daily contact with his family in the Philippines where is father is ill.

“Things are bad over there at the moment. There are no hospital beds so my family secured some oxygen cylinders and is looking after him at home. He has been responding well and I ring twice a day to check on his progress,” he said.

His wife Grace Palo previously said: aid: “It’s been a terrible ordeal but my kids never had any doubt their dad would pull through because they know he is a fighter.

“He’s always been popular, and I’ve had everyone from cleaners to consultants wishing my family the best. It means a lot to me and I never once heard anyone say he wouldn’t pull through.

“It’s been a tough battle for but my message to anyone struggling out there for whatever reason is not to give up. You have to keep trying.”