Frontline healthcare workers are breathing a collective sigh of relief as the UAE’s daily Covid-19 infections are on a downward spiral.
On Sunday, the figure had dipped below 100 for the first time in 19 months and it went up to 104 the following day.
Frontliners recollected how they had tackled SARS-CoV-2 virus — an unknown scourge in those early days — and how they won over the contagion challenge because of their resolute teamwork.
Laveena Lidiya Veigas, head nurse, ICU and Cath lab, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain vividly remembers the brainstorming sessions while dealing with the first Covid-19 patient, who was admitted in March 2020.
“We had never heard of Covid-19. To make matters worse, no vaccine was available. The first patient was put in an isolation room. We were figuring out how to take good care. However, we ensured that he received good treatment. We felt relieved after he tested Covid-19 negative,” she said.
The first case was the start of unprecedented times and challenges, which health workers managed through cohesive teamwork.
“Soon, we started receiving more patients. Though there was a staff and resource crunch, teamwork won the day for us. My colleagues did an exemplary job. Nothing is impossible if teamwork exists,” Veigas said.
Wise and visionary leadership
Frontline workers lauded the UAE’s wise and visionary leadership for nationwide PCR screening, aggressive vaccination campaigns and several proactive precautionary measures, which has seen the country overcome the worst phase of the pandemic.
Dr Ansilata Marlyn Anesly, general practitioner, ICU, Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah, underlined that the low number of new Covid-19 cases brings great relief to not just the medical fraternity, but all UAE residents.
“Yes, we’ve triumphed over the deadliest virus of the century. It has been a long and arduous journey, where several lives were sacrificed and people from all walks of life showed extraordinary courage and resilience. The UAE’s wise and visionary leadership, the health regulatory bodies, and the public played a stellar role to come up trumps. The frontline workers and the healthcare sector fought an indomitable battle against Covid-19. Hope continued to spring eternal even during those hard times. This victory certainly belongs to all of us.”
Naglaa Fathy, pharmacist, Aster Pharmacy, Dubai recalled dealing with numerous phone calls, especially from patients.
“Enquiries over the counter have dipped significantly. There is a great deal of awareness among the people about the precautionary measures. The UAE’s recovery phase is on the right path. Happy days are back again,” Fathy said.
She is glad that the situation is slowly and steadily returning to normal.
“We had a very tough time when the Covid-19 pandemic started. There was not only physical exhaustion but also immense mental stress. We were worried about our families back home. But we never showed those feelings to our patients. We salute all frontliners who led from the front. We thank our management who gave us emotional and mental support,” she said.
Dr Zaineb Sabri, specialist internal medicine, Medcare Hospital, Sharjah cited that the vaccination drive has ensured herd immunity in the community.
“The effect of a robust government plan as well as the mass vaccination programme has created a strong immune response and herd immunity. Vaccination of people belonging to different age groups, including three-year-old toddlers, proved to be a game-changer,” she said.
Dr Waleed Hussain, general practitioner at Bareen International Hospital, Abu Dhabi stressed that people must not let their guard down and strictly adhere to guidelines.
“Many healthcare professionals became infected and fell victim to the viral infection. Some of us even lost our loved ones. I’m elated because the daily infection rates are dipping rapidly. However, we should remain alert and continue to follow the health and safety protocols. This will augur well for all of us,” he said.
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