An 81-year-old from Sidcup who became one of the first ever patients treated for Covid-19 at a London hospital has spoken about how he is only now "getting back to his old self" one year on from being admitted into intensive care.

Grandad Jose-Luiz Fernandez was clapped and cheered out of King's College Hospital in April 2020 after he made a "miraculous" recovery.

He spent 28 days in intensive care in a condition that had left the family fearing for the worst, but to doctors' delight he fought back, afterwards stating he "had to get better for my family and beautiful grandchildren."

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

But in a follow-up almost one year to the day, Jose-Luiz and his family, including five grandchildren, have revealed that the recovery at home was just as hard.

Natasha Raphoz, Jose's daughter, said they didn't know if he'd ever make a full recovery, but that they feel "so lucky" he has proved everyone wrong and emerged "feeling like he's 40."

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

Sarah Dheansa, head of nursing for neurosciences at King’s, said it had "lifted the team's hearts to hear how he had been recovering, and called him an "inspirational figure."

Mr Fernandez, 81, was admitted initially to PRUH, then to King's back in February 2020, one of the hospital's first Covid-19 patients.

His symptoms quickly "worsened drastically," and two days after arriving he was transferred to a intensive care unit.

Daughter Natasha described the moment they found out as "heart-breaking", and said they were told to prepare for the worst.

He spent 28 days inside the unit, battling through despite all the odds to return home in April, accompanied with a joyous video of his hospital send-off.

Jose said: "When I was in hospital, I kept telling myself there was no way this virus would beat me. I had to get better for my family and beautiful grandchildren.

“My recovery has been slow, and I felt very weak for a long time. Anyone who has been in intensive care will tell you that it takes its toll.

Now, a year on from developing symptoms, he said he is "nearly fully recovered."

"I run around with my grandchildren, and although I’m 81 I feel more like 40!”

Natasha said her Dad's first few days back at home were incredibly hard.

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

"We didn’t know if he’d be able to make a full recovery, or how independent he’d be. But he slowly started getting better, and it felt like we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"It’s about a year to the day he started having COVID-19 symptoms, and he’s just getting back to looking like his old self again. I never knew if he’d be able to play with my children again, but he’s proved everyone wrong. We feel so lucky.”

Jose added: "My gratitude for the staff who looked after me will last forever.

"The people in here have been so helpful, there's so many people to thank. I'm extremely grateful."

"We can never thank them enough, Natasha added. "They were absolutely incredible, they deserve so much more than a clap on a Thursday."

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

Jose-Luiz Fernandez and family

King's College Hospital NHS Trust's Sarah Dheansa said the whole team had stayed in touch with Jose and the family, and it had "lifted the team’s hearts to hear how he’s recovering.

"Watching him with his family and grandchildren reminds us all that there is always hope, despite how sick you become, and that all of our patients are part of something much bigger than we can help restore.

"He is an inspirational figure for the families who still have a loved one unwell, and reminds us of how despite the odds, so many patients have the ability to pull through.”