This British dad who has diabetes and was diagnosed with coronavirus in Dubai has opened up on his hospital isolation with “no fresh air, not seeing family or friends”.
Father-of-two Deepak Malhotra, 44, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on 13th March in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and admitted into Dubai City Hospital.
Malhotra had not suffered from typical symptoms of the virus such as a fever or a dry cough but was simply feeling rundown.
He had been tested for the virus because he suffers from type-1 diabetes which places him in the at-risk group from COVID-19.
Malhotra had travelled to India in late February and another guest in his hotel had tested positive for the virus.
He said the news came as a “shock” and says his first concern was if he had infected others including his colleagues, his wife or his two daughters aged six and 11.
Malhotra was kept in isolation in the hospital for 16 days and was told he needed to warn those he had been in contact with.
He told local media outlet ‘The National’: “Another shock was when I was told I would have to stay in isolation, I couldn’t leave, I couldn’t see anyone. I was having to phone people saying ‘I’ve been with you in the past two weeks, I’ve now been diagnosed’. That wasn’t a very easy thing to do. It was emotionally quite difficult at that time.”
He said he tried to keep a routine in his day and would order food from a mobile phone application which nurses would leave at his door.
Speaking of his isolation he said: “It’s hard, you’re in a room with no fresh air, not seeing family or friends. But you’re speaking to people, there were lots of positive messages. Social media helped a lot.
Any time anyone came into my room, they would have a proper hazmat suit on. It felt bizarre.The nurses would come in and check me every day and the doctors would always consult me by phone. It was surreal when I finally walked out, as I got to see what everybody actually looked like.”
He initially tested negative just two days after his diagnosis but a follow-up test then came back positive, leaving him needing to test negative in three tests in a row to be able to leave the hospital.
In a video message he said: “Third test result has come and it’s negative. Woohoo, I’m now free to go, see family, get some fresh air, go home and get back for my birthday. I cannot wait.[…] All I need now is to find a hairdresser and someone to trim my beard.”
The three negative tests eventually came and he left the hospital on 28th March, just in time for his 44th birthday yesterday (30th March).
The father, who has lived in the UAE for seven years, said it upsets him to see people breaking quarantine measures around the world, adding: “If people are going out and doing things that are effectively risking other people’s health, it’s very selfish and very dangerous.
“It does make one quite angry, having been through this yourself, to see irresponsible and selfish behaviour.”
He urged people to follow government guidelines to get through this “horrendous period”.
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