RIYADH: As doctors and health-care workers braced for the COVID-19 storm when it hit Saudi Arabia, a number of them had the experience of dealing with another coronavirus that appeared in the Kingdom eight years ago.
Dr. Jaffar Al-Tawfiq, an infectious-disease consultant at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) in Dhahran, began prepping early for the pandemic before the first case was identified in the Kingdom in March.
“I’d witnessed the emergence of the MERS-CoV infection in 2012, and I was part of the global response to this disease,” he said.
“Building on the experience I’d gained, I’d been appointed as the JHAH COVID-19 incident response commander.”
Al-Tawfiq completed medical schooling at the King Faisal University of Medicine. He became certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and later did an internal-medicine residency and infectious-diseases fellowship at Indiana University.
He was also awarded a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene by the Royal College of Physicians, London.
During the pandemic, Al-Tawfiq worked closely with Aramco and the Ministry of Health to optimize safety in the workplace and at home.
“I was working day and night for long hours to ensure readiness and compliance with the processes that we developed,” he said.
“In addition, I’ve been involved nationally and internationally to combat this pandemic. We certainly have learned a lot and made significant contributions.”