Saudi doctor’s message of hope after beating COVID-19

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Omar Hafiz left note for next patient to be quarantined in room as reminder that ‘these days will pass and will soon be memories.’
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Omar Hafiz
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Updated 02 June 2020

Saudi doctor’s message of hope after beating COVID-19

  • The worst part of his job during the pandemic, he said, is seeing people seriously ill in hospital as a result of their own negligence or failure to comply with measures to prevent the spread of the disease

MAKKAH: A Saudi doctor who spent weeks in isolation in a hotel room in Jeddah after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) left an inspirational message for the next person to be quarantined there.
Dr. Omar Hafiz wrote: “Do not give up, my friend. These days will pass and will soon be memories. The virus will go and you will stay. I wish you a happy isolation.” He signed it, “a former isolated man.”
Hafiz was quarantined in the hotel after tests confirmed he was infected with the novel coronavirus. At first he only had a headache and fatigue but other symptoms developed, including a high temperature and a cough.
It was also discovered he had passed the virus on to his mother and two of his siblings, who were hospitalized. Hafiz sent an emotional message to his mother, saying: “I hope you are proud of me for being one of the people who have been serving the society, along with my colleagues, risking their lives and those of their families to serve their nation.”
It was a long and difficult ordeal but Hafiz and his family are on the road to recovery. They were released three days ago and have returned to their home in Al-Marwa neighborhood, where they will remain isolated until fully recovered, with no risk of passing on the disease to anyone else.

BACKGROUND

Dr. Omar Hafiz was quarantined after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. At first he only had a headache and fatigue but other symptoms developed, including a high temperature and a cough.

Despite the difficult experience, Hafiz said he remained positive throughout and never doubted he and his family would win their fight against the disease and return to their normal lives.
He said he still considers his job on the front line of the fight against the virus as a service to the nation, and plans to return to work as soon as it is safe to do so. He and his colleagues will continue to do everything they can to fight the virus, he added.
Hafiz also highlighted the importance of the preventative measures introduced by the Ministry of Health and other authorities to protect people and save lives. He urged people not to be distressed or unhappy, therefore, about curfews or other restrictions designed to protect them and their families.
The worst part of his job during the pandemic, he said, is seeing people seriously ill in hospital as a result of their own negligence or failure to comply with measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Many of these people transmit the virus to loved ones and friends who then also face a long road to recovery or, in some cases, a fight for their life.


Saudi Arabia calls for international action over decaying Red Sea oil tanker

Updated 14 min 31 sec ago

Saudi Arabia calls for international action over decaying Red Sea oil tanker

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has called for strong and decisive international efforts to deal with the global threats posed by a decaying oil tanker moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

During a virtual meeting on Wednesday of the UN Security Council to discuss the stranded FSO Safer vessel, which is loaded with more than 1 million barrels of crude oil, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, highlighted the “grave risks” the ship presented.

The 45-year-old tanker has been anchored about 60 km north of Hodeidah since the start of Yemen’s civil war five years ago. Iran-backed Houthi rebels agreed on Sunday to allow a UN inspection team access to the ship for a maintenance check.

Al-Mouallimi said: “I would like to express our appreciation for convening this session to discuss the hazardous situation of the tanker and the dangers it is posing to the environment and maritime navigation in the Red Sea.

“The grave risks associated with this floating oil tanker threaten to cause harm to the Southern Red Sea and to the world at large as it is situated in the proximity of Bab Al-Mandab (Strait), through which vital international maritime navigation passes through between Asia and Europe.

“This dangerous situation must not be left unaddressed, and the Security Council bears primary responsibility for securing the safety and security of the area,” he added.

The envoy told delegates that an oil spill from the FSO Safer could have the potential to be worse than the devastating 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.

He pointed out that loss of oil from the ship could also result in the closing of the port of Hodeidah for months, leading to severe shortages in the supply of fuel and other essentials to the people of Yemen, and severe long-term damage to the region’s fishing industry.

Marine life, the environment, and Saudi shores would also be seriously and adversely affected, he added, and toxic gases and black clouds from any major spillage would damage agricultural land in vast areas of Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

“The Security Council has already asserted the need to confront the risks associated with this situation and warned against the catastrophic consequences that would result if this situation remains unresolved. The Security Council did so in its resolution 2511 (2020) and its press statement issued on June 29, 2020,” said Al-Mouallimi.

“We took notice of the announcement made recently by the spokesperson of the UN secretary-general that the Houthi rebels have agreed to allow access to the tanker.

“We remain suspicious of the Houthis plans and intentions, and request that the Security Council must remain vigilante and should stand ready to declare strong and decisive measures to deal with this situation and eliminate the risks posed by it.”

The ambassador said that the Kingdom stood ready to take all necessary steps that the Security Council may deem fit to handle the situation.

“The council must not allow such reckless and irresponsible behavior to stand. The council must ensure that a political solution for the conflict in Yemen is found based on UN Security Council Resolution 2216, the GCC initiative, and the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference, acknowledged by the international community as the elements of international legitimacy.”