Bakary Meite was helping clean up the sanitary parts of Paris hospital in the west of his hometown.
- Latest update: April 21, 2020, 4:56 PM IST
Paris: The story of Bakary Meite's contribution to a hospital in Paris during the spread of coronavirus has been seen, heard and read around the world, but the return of Ivory Coast remains a sticking point in his efforts.
Meite, 36, has been helping clean up the western parts of the city where he was born until the end of March and has been interviewed by the BBC, numerous radio and television stations and magazines.
More than 20,000 people have died in COVID-19 in France and more than 30,000 remain in hospitals across the country since Monday as the country's largest capital.
"My actions have been enhanced by the media but it is the staff involved in the hospitals every day that you have to commend," he told AFP.
"They are the carers, nurses, hygiene … the ones I work with now and who will stay when I quit," he added.
After returning from Brazil's Parisian team-mate Carcassonne and leaving for Ivory Coast due to family reasons, he responded to a family request.
"Meite's brother-in-law works for a cleaning company contracted by the Sainte-Perrine hospital," Meite says.
He called my sister, because they were looking for someone, my uncle gave up voluntarily and I followed suit,
RAMP, ELEVATORS, DOOR HANDLES
The replacement of former Stade star Francais Meite begins at 7:30 am (0530 GMT) and ends at noon.
I clean it every day. Arrows, elevator buttons, and door handles are available. A lot of land can cover but it is nothing compared to the work people do at the hospital, ”he said.
The simple fact of doing something is not to do anything extra, I do something, ”he added.
The top two ranks of French rugby have been suspended since March 13 due to the disease.
Meite, who also previously worked with Massy and the Beziers, said he struggled to get back on the pitch before his shoes were worn out within 12 months.
"What I'm doing, I'll do it as long as I need to but I would really like to get back to playing rugby at Carcassone," he said.
I still have one year left on my contract. It will be my last season. I am now preparing my training certificates. I don't know yet what I'll do, we'll see.