Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE-based Indian social worker tests positive for Covid-19

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on April 7, 2020
social worker, tests positive, for Covid-19, Naseer Vatanapally
Supplied photo

Naseer Vatanapally has been helping residents of Al Naif and Al Ras with supplies of food and other essential matters for the past two weeks.

A well-known Indian social worker has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus in the UAE. Naseer Vatanapally, a Kerala-native, has been helping residents of Al Naif and Al Ras with supplies of food and other essential matters for the past two weeks.

Speaking to Khaleej Times from an isolation room in a hospital, Vatanapally said he had been showing symptoms including a mild throat irritation for the past three to four days. "At the insistence of local health authorities, I got myself tested. As soon as my test results came through, I was admitted," said Vatanapally.

He said, "I am feeling fine. I have a mild headache, a mild throat irritation; not feeling any other major symptoms. I trust the UAE healthcare system. I feel confident I will get well soon." Vatanapally said he has no major pre-existing condition, and expects to recover soon.

However, Vatanapally urged all UAE residents to take the precautionary measures set by the UAE government very seriously. "The government is telling people to stay at home for a reason. There is no need for people to come out, unless they have to buy groceries," he added.

A father to three kids, Vatanapally isolated himself from his family 20-days ago and was living in a hotel from the time he committed himself to social work. He has been aiding people in Naif and Al Ras in coordination with local health and police authorities. "I am worried for the teams of people I've been working with; however, we did take all precautionary measures, including social distancing," he added.

He said since the National Sanitization Programme, the authorities have been providing 10,000 packages of food to these areas. "All their needs are being taken care of. People just need to stay at home. There is no other reason to panic or worry," he explained.

The Consulate General of India had thanked Vatanapally in a tweet posted on April 4 for his efforts during the sanitisation programme. "We thank Naseer Vatanapally and others from the Indian community for their great work in the time of this pandemic," tweeted the Consulate.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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