Pakistani doctor who died of COVID-19 applauded as hero in Saudi Arabia

1 / 5
Pakistani surgeon Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry can be seen with his family at Jeddah’s Corniche on January 11, 2020. He died while working in Saudi Arabia after contracting the coronavirus. (Supplied)
2 / 5
In this undated photo, Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry is working in his office at Hira General Hospital, Makkah. (Supplied)
3 / 5
File photo of Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry, a Pakistani doctor who died while working in Saudi Arabia after contracting the coronavirus. (Supplied)
4 / 5
File photo of Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry, a Pakistani doctor who died while working in Saudi Arabia after contracting the coronavirus. (Supplied)
5 / 5
File photo of Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry, a Pakistani doctor who died while working in Saudi Arabia after contracting the coronavirus. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 06 June 2020

Pakistani doctor who died of COVID-19 applauded as hero in Saudi Arabia

  • Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry will be remembered for his illustrious contributions to the fields of medicine and social work, says Pakistan’s consul general

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s diaspora community and medical professionals in Saudi Arabia have paid tribute to a Pakistani surgeon, Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry, who became the first medic in the Kingdom to lose his life to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), two days ago in Makkah, where he worked in the at Hira General Hospital.

Chaudhry was 46 years old and hailed from the northeastern district of Narowal in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He moved to Saudi Arabia in 2014 with his family to work as a surgeon in Islam’s holiest city. He is survived by his wife and three daughters who also live in Makkah.

Tooba Chaudhry, the wife of the deceased doctor who also works at the hospital as a radiologist, said that her husband kept on performing his duties throughout the pandemic, and showed mild symptoms on May 14.

“He had mild fever and complained of fatigue on May 14, and it was established that he was suffering from COVID-19 after a medical test the same day. We started treating him and he showed signs of improvement until the beginning of this month. Then suddenly his condition deteriorated,” she told Arab News on Friday.

“My three daughters and I have also tested positive for COVID-19, but we are now stable. Our symptoms have disappeared, but the hospital has not called us for a second test,” she added.

“Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and officials at the consulate general in Jeddah, called me and assured full support to my family,” she continued. “The Saudi officials also allowed me to bid farewell to my husband in a fully protective outfit.”

Pakistan’s consul general in Jeddah, Khalid Majid, said the deceased doctor would be remembered as an indefatigable philanthropist for his illustrious contributions to the fields of medicine and social work.

“He was an important member of the medical team fighting against COVID-19 in the Makkah region. The Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia has indeed lost a sincere compatriot who served humanity with zeal and sincerity,” he told Arab News on Friday.

Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki also prayed for the Pakistani surgeon, while recognizing his services to the Kingdom.

“I offer my condolences and prayers for the family of the Pakistani surgeon Naeem Khalid Chaudhry, who moved to the mercy of Allah Almighty due to his infection with COVID-19, while performing his duty on the frontline against pandemic at Hira General Hospital in Makkah,” he said in a Twitter post.

Dr. Muhammad Irfan, Chaudhry’s colleague and close friend, told Arab News that his coworker performed his duties tirelessly and with utmost dedication.

“I was with him in the surgical department for the last six years. He was a close friend and very good surgeon. He never showed a sign of hesitation while treating COVID-19 patients,” he said.

“The whole hospital is in a state of shock, since Dr. Chaudhry was very popular due to his professionalism,” Dr. Muhammad Saleem, an intensive care unit specialist at the hospital, told Arab News.

“He got COVID-19 infection two weeks back while performing hospital duties. We used the best resources for his recovery, but unfortunately he did not survive,” he added.

Dr. Asad Ullah Roomi, president of the Pakistan Doctors’ Group in the Kingdom, said all Pakistani medical professionals were at the forefront of this fight against the pandemic along with their Saudi colleagues.

“Dr. Chaudhry was a very hardworking and skillful surgeon. He was also academically involved in the training of his juniors,” he told Arab News, adding: “He was also an active contributor to a Pakistani doctors’ charity initiative, and provided free medical services to underprivileged individuals in the Makkah region.”

Dr. Zia Ullah Dawar, a public health specialist at the Saudi Ministry of Health in Jeddah, remembered Dr. Chaudhry in these words: “He was a thorough professional who never hesitated from his duty despite all its dangers.”

He also revealed that the Pakistani surgeon served five times in the southwestern border city of Jazan on the request of the health ministry.

“Dr. Chaudhry used to help the Pakistani community in Makkah and provided free services to the deserving people,” Dawar continued. “He was about to be promoted in about a month from a surgical specialist to a consultant.”

 


Saudi TikTok users weigh in on potential app ban

Photo/Supplied
Updated 12 July 2020

Saudi TikTok users weigh in on potential app ban

  • Due to pandemic, interest in the app skyrocketed as many users watch videos and try to recreate them while in quarantine

RIYADH: Chinese video platform TikTok is under fire once again, as rumors of the app being a tool used by the Chinese government to spy on users resurface online.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is a video-sharing site similar to the now-defunct Vine, where users share short clips of themselves which can be altered using AI technology.
Lip-syncing along with a track, using filters, and adding special effects give users the chance to create short clips that can be shared and downloaded in several social media platforms.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, interest in the app skyrocketed as many users downloaded TikTok to watch videos and try to recreate them while in quarantine. The app has also gained significant popularity in the Middle East with influencers such as Saudi model Roz, UAE-based content creators Khalid and Salama, and Saudi top TikToker iimeeto, who recently celebrated reaching four million followers on the platform.
Rania Mohammed, a fourth year medical student at Dar AlUloom University in Riyadh, said that TikTok was “the only thing keeping her sane” as she struggled with the pressures of school and quarantine.
“As a med school student, my attention span and free time are both severely limited,” she told Arab News. “Taking a 15 minute break to watch silly TikToks has helped me keep motivated. The specific brand of humor on that app is the fastest way to make me laugh.”
Mai Alhumood, a government employee, said that she downloaded the app while she was bored and became “quickly addicted” to the platform’s fun short videos.
“People are so creative on TikTok, and the challenges that keep going viral are so interesting,” she told Arab News.
However, the app has long-suffered from accusations of spying and gathering users’ private information on behalf of the Chinese government, leading to both temporary and permanent bans in countries around the world.
Recently, it was reported that Amazon requested that employees remove the app from their smartphones in an email over “security risks.” The company later retracted its directive.
Saudi cybersecurity expert Abdullah Al-Jaber believed that concerns over the security of TikTok’s collected data stemmed from the app’s country of origin and its rules and regulations.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Following a provisional ban in April 2019, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned TikTok permanently in June this year, along with 58 other Chinese apps. The ministry claimed that the apps were a ‘threat to the sovereignty and security of the country’ following a Himalayan border clash with Chinese troops in the disputed territory of Ladakh.

• Indonesia temporarily blocked TikTok in July 2018, citing public concern regarding ‘illegal content’ such as pornography and blasphemy. However, the app was unblocked following various changes from TikTok such as the opening of a government liaison office and implementing security mechanisms.

• Recently, the US became the third country to seriously consider banning the app, according to information from President Donald Trump’s administration. Trump also weighed in on a potential TikTok ban. He said that banning the app would be ‘punishing China for its response to the coronavirus.’

“TikTok collects data in a very similar way to US applications,” he told Arab News. “However the main concern is that the US has regulations and compliance that must be met when collecting customer data, such as GDPR data privacy regulation. In the case of TikTok, we don’t know as much about how the data is being used or stored because we don’t know their regulations.”
Following a provisional ban in April 2019, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned TikTok permanently in June this year, along with 58 other Chinese apps. The ministry claimed that the apps were a “threat to the sovereignty and security of the country” following a Himalayan border clash with Chinese troops in the disputed territory of Ladakh.
Indonesia temporarily blocked TikTok in July 2018, citing public concern regarding “illegal content” such as pornography and blasphemy. However, the app was unblocked following various changes from TikTok such as the opening of a government liaison office and implementing security mechanisms.
Recently, the US became the third country to seriously consider banning the app, according to information from President Donald Trump’s administration.
Trump also weighed in on a potential TikTok ban. In an interview with Gray Television, Trump said that banning the app would be “punishing China for its response to the coronavirus.”
“Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful,” he said.
While Saudi Arabia has yet to announce a ban of any kind of TikTok, local users and followers are trying to practice caution while using the app anyway.
Alhumood considered making videos on the platform, but dismissed the idea and only uses it to follow other people’s videos.
“I have ideas for it, sure, but I’d rather not take the risk. I don’t even have a username or a registered account, and that’s one of the better things about TikTok. I only have the app, but I can still watch all the videos without giving them my private information.”
Mohammed also said that she had no interest in creating videos herself, though she did have a registered account in order to comment on videos and keep track of her favorites.
However Al-Jaber said that, in his opinion, registering an account on TikTok did not necessarily pose more of a risk than using other social media.
“If you use Facebook or Twitter, it’s not much different than using TikTok,” he said.