Coronavirus in UAE: Indian actor lauds authorities for care in self isolation
Dubai - 'People with Covid-19 symptoms should seek medical help'
Published: Thu 19 Mar 2020, 6:33 PM
Last updated: Thu 19 Mar 2020, 8:49 PM
A South Indian film star, who voluntarily underwent a test for new coronavirus, Covid-19, in the UAE, said his experience helped him realise that people's fear and concerns about the test and related treatment were baseless.
Ravindran told WAM that he reported himself to the health authorities after his daughter was tested positive for Covid-19 last week.
"Some inconvenience of treatment in isolation at a hospital and getting a negative result was far better than blind belief of not having the infection. Otherwise we may transmit the deadly disease to others it is almost like committing a mass murder," said the actor from south Indian state of Kerala who has been staying in the UAE for a few years as part of his film and visual literacy programmes.
"Although I was anxious and nervous, causing blood pressure variation and overall physical discomforts, the UAE's health system treated me very well without affecting my privacy; I was made at ease," said Ravindran who had acted leading roles since 1980s with the giants of South Indian cinema such as Sivaji Ganesan, Rajinikanth, Kamal Hasan, Mammootty and Mohanlal.
His daughter, a gynaecologist who came from France to the UAE on March 8 to spend some time with him, felt the next day she had Covid-19 symptoms. She visited a clinic and underwent the swab test.
On March 10 evening, health officials sent an ambulance and took her to a hospital. The daughter immediately asked him to undergo the Covid-19 test and he obliged, although he did not have any symptoms.
He called up the emergency number and an ambulance took him to a private hospital. The third day his doctor offered him a firm handshake and told him his test result was negative.
"When I asked him whether he was sure, he said otherwise he would not give me a handshake."
His daughter has improved her conditions thanks to the exemplary medical care at a government hospital.
"She was tested negative within a week's treatment. We are happy to know that the UAE immigration authorities extended her visa free of cost, without any request from us. We are grateful to the UAE authorities for this kind gesture," Ravindran said.
Speaking about people's misconceptions he encountered, he said as soon as he was discharged from the hospital after being tested negative on March 13, he immediately relayed "the good news" to all his friends and acquaintances in the UAE.
The questions he received from them revealed popular misconceptions about such a test and related treatment.
The first question was about the cost of the medical treatment in isolation. However, the hospital had told him the bill was waived off as the test and treatment were related to COVID-19, the actor revealed.
Many people wanted to know about his symptoms. "Actually I did not have any symptoms. I volunteered to undergo the test as I was in contact with a Covid-19 patient," he said.
Some people make their own conclusion about flu-related illnesses and do not seek medical assistance, Ravindran said.
"They believe that they have common flue and depend on home remedies," the actor said from the experiences he heard from friends and acquaintances.
Some others are afraid that they may have to undergo treatment in isolation for COVID-19, if they visit a doctor, he pointed out.
Many people asked him about the hardship of isolation. "Yes, it was little bit uncomfortable. But the facilities offered by the UAE's health system - free internet, TV and healthy food - made it a comfortable experience," he explained.
Most people asked about the privacy while undergoing Covid-19 test and treatment, apparently fearing the social ostracism.
"Although there were many Indian staff in the hospital who would recognise me immediately, there was no such a chance. The authorities here are taking care of all those aspects very well," he explained.
"If an actor like me did not have any privacy problem and unbearable discomforts of isolation, I am sure anybody can take it easy," Ravindran said.
He believes that his experience will encourage all others having any possibility of infection to come forward, seek medical assistance and undergo the test, if required.
"It is to save ourselves and others. Otherwise those having infections will turn into murderers although inadvertently by spreading the deadly disease to others," Ravindran said.