April 10, 2020
Image credit : Illustrative Image
A couple hailing from Kerala are in distress in Dubai. Two days have passed since the husband tested positive for COVID-19. There has not been any communication as to whether they will be taken to an isolation ward, let alone a hospital.
“The DHA (Dubai Health Authority) has told us that they will contact us tomorrow (Thursday),” Richard Geo told The Lede a few hours after his test results had come back positive on Wednesday evening. The samples were taken for tests on Monday.
“It was someone from the DHA who informed us that my sample had tested positive.”
By the time the results came out, Richard had already been running a slight fever. Richard who is staying with his wife is worried about her as well.
“My wife is running a slight fever as well,” says Richard. But Richard’s wife Rachael Ann has not yet had her results confirm whether she is positive or not. “DHA informed me that I had tested positive and told me to stay at home.”
Having moved into a new locality only a few weeks back so as to make conveyance to his wife’s new workplace easier, both are facing a tough time.
Inspite of the general shutdown in place in Dubai, Richard was asked to work till last week. Reason being that he was working in an essential service.
“Some sectors were excluded from the shutdown. Since I am working in the construction industry, we were exempted from the shutdown and were hence reporting for work. That is the problem,” says Richard.
Richard was working on a site related to the Dubai metro which was also running till recently, despite the shutdown.
“Tests were not otherwise mandatory. It was after 3-4 sites reported positive cases that the company asked us all to get ourselves tested,” says Richard. “An Egyptian who tested positive was also found to have visited our work site, and hence we were all asked to go for testing. Three others working with me have also tested positive.”
But Richard and his colleagues are not sure if that was how they came in touch with the virus either.
“He was working in some other site and had visited our site once as well. But we are not still sure if it was indeed from him that we contracted the virus. But as of now that seems the most plausible explanation.”
Inspite of the many testing positive, Richard was asked to work until the last weekend. “I had been working till Sunday,” he says.
Even as Richard waited for a call from the DHA on Wednesday night, he was less hopeful of hospitalisation. “A volunteer from DHA who contacted me said that chances of admission into a hospital are less. Only if there are other medical complications or health issues are people being hospitalised. Most probably I will be shifted to an apartment or hotel for isolation.”
But even that did not materialise as of Thursday.
When the call did come on Thursday morning from the DHA, Richard was informed that since there was an acute shortage of places to accommodate those who had tested positive, he will have to stay at home until further instructions.
While Richard says he has sufficient supplies as of now, what will happen if his condition were to worsen is the thought worrying his relatives in Kerala.
“Bringing them back to India seems impossible almost,” says Vinod Paul, a marketing consultant in Calicut and a close relative of Richard. “What is needed is for both of them to be kept together and hospitalised.”
COVID-19 positive patients are in danger of their condition deteriorating rapidly and needing medical intervention in such a case. This is why it is imperative for the Indian couple to be hospitalised immediately.
Richard, a civil engineer, and his wife, a dentist, are faced with such difficulties in getting proper medical care despite having private medical insurance.
The Lede had earlier reported on the plight of migrants, particularly Indians, in the UAE who did not have access to hospitals despite testing positive for the viral infection.