HE is the Southampton emergency department nurse whose ‘miraculous’ recovery from Covid-19 left medics astounded.

Today Laszlo Penzes is telling his story for the first time as he backs the COVID ZERO campaign and warns that anyone – even the young, fit and healthy - can find themselves in a fight for life with the deadly disease.

Doctors had given the dad-of-two a 40 per cent chance of pulling through as he battled for life on a ventilator.

The 45-year-old was rushed, in an induced coma, from Southampton to London in a last-ditch bid to save his life.

He had started to feel ill and began isolating on April 15 – the same time that his wife Timea, who works as an emergency department nurse in Portsmouth, also started to display symptoms.

Their sons Patrik, 21, and 18-year-old Armin also fell ill. A test confirmed two days later that Laszlo did indeed have the virus.

But while Timea and their children began to recover, Laszlo – who has no underlying health conditions and was fit and healthy – got gradually worse.

Laszlo said: “There came a point when I was struggling to breathe. It was the strangest experience to be a patient in my own workplace, but it was also comforting as I was being treated and cared for by my work family.”

Laszlo was moved to the intensive care unit but as things deteriorated further he was placed in an induced coma.

On April 29 he was transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London and hooked up to a life-support machine.

Laszlo added: “There was this blind spot between going into the deep sleep and waking up in London. I woke up wondering what had happened and put all these puzzle pieces back in place.

“The lead consultant called my wife and told her my chances of survival had dropped to 40 per cent. He said if I did live, I would be expected to spend at least three weeks on this machine and then a long time afterwards in intensive care.”

Eight days later, Laszlo had recovered enough to be disconnected from the machine.

He said: “I’m still recovering and am left suffering some side effects, but it’s a small price to pay for getting another chance to live again.”

Urging residents to maintain social distancing and back the campaign, Laszlo said: “I have seen both sides of this pandemic through my job as a nurse and as a patient. I know too well how bad it can get. We need to all be very cautious and do everything we can to protect our loved ones and protect the hospital and its staff.”