UAE: Covid PCR lab technician delays breaking own fast to take care of urgent cases

Palestinian expat Abdallah Fathi is always on his toes during Iftar, often having only dates and water so he can continue working

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sat 16 Apr 2022, 7:45 AM

While the world in general cowers in fright at the very mention of Covid-19 and other viruses, there are some among us who take on these dreaded 'demons' so that we can stay safe.

We are talking about lab professionals such as Abdallah Fathi, whose work revolves around Covid and other dangerous viruses.

The Palestinian expat says his work is critical, and since his lab gets many samples, often times he has to rush through Iftar before it's back to business.

The lab assistant at Thumbay Labs says Suhoor is normal, but during Iftar, he must be on his toes. The lab is operational every day with a turnaround time of four hours for Covid-19.

“We must ensure that the results reach the doctors as soon as possible to ensure proper diagnosis. Being a lab technician, we work on rotational shifts, wherein every week, our duty hours change. This week, I have been working in the 2pm to 8pm shift,” he explained.

As the lab receives samples by the minute, Fathi does not have the luxury of having a proper meal at times. “Sometimes I break my fast with dates and water and continue with my work,” he said. And sometimes when duty calls, Fathi even postpones ending his fast to attend to some urgent case.

“Since the second week of Ramadan, I have been ending my fast while on duty,” said the technician.

Fathi has a desire to celebrate the holy month with his family, but due to the ongoing pandemic, it will probably not happen this year. “I miss my family, but at my workplace we treat each other like family. It is a rewarding experience helping patients and doctors that far exceeds the temporary challenge of fasting,” said Fathi.

“My family do request on getting together for Iftar, but I tell them that this is my job and I am helping patients and doctors by giving them the information they need,” added Fathi.


The Palestanian expat says for him the most memorable moments while breaking his fast is “when we plan and bring food to the workplace - ensuring that we can all break our fast together,”

Picking out his favourite meal at Iftar, Fathi said: “I love to eat Mansaf post Iftar - which is a traditional Palestinan dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with yellow rice,”

“Ramadan brings me closer to Allah. Moreover, the family comes together during Ramadan, and we enjoy it together, especially the prayer of Taraweeh.”

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