MAKKAH: Dr. Omar Hafiz was infected with coronavirus in May while on call in one of the COVID-19 wards of the Jeddah hospital.
Without any fever to indicate that he had an infection, Dr. Hafiz only suffered from a mild headache and some fatigue, which he attributed to work stress after being on call for 24 hours, only to find out days later that his sister began showing signs of an infection. The news shocked him after her test results came back positive.
“After my sister’s infection, my family isolated themselves in their rooms as we waited for our test results. Funnily enough, it was a time where we bonded more than ever before, sending each other messages, sharing laughs and speaking over the phone and video calls to keep each other company,” said Dr. Hafiz.
“After my tests confirmed my infection, I was moved to the hospital to be monitored, and all was well until my mother’s test resulted positive. I felt my world was crashing down on me. I couldn’t believe that I infected my mother and I was devastated. I thought I was careful,” he added.
While in isolation, he filmed his experience to help raise awareness about the importance of precautionary measures, posting it on his YouTube page and gaining more than 600,000 views.
“The experiences of patients are the best awareness-raising examples. Therefore, I filmed myself during isolation in the hospital to reassure people and tell them that the virus is not scary, but rather tiring, and that while home isolation might be boring, it is much better than being in a hospital bed,” he said.
After 14 days of recovery, physicians must undergo swab tests twice in order to return back to duty. Dr. Hafiz tested negative, and back to the hospital he went. His mother and sister have also recovered.
Before leaving his room, Dr. Hafiz left an inspirational message to the next person to be quarantined.
He 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.