New cases of coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar are mounting, raising the total number in the Gulf Cooperation Council area to 963.
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In Saudi Arabia, although no deaths have been reported, the government has shut down malls, restaurants and public parks. Residents are restricted to supermarkets, pharmacies and food delivery services.
She was informed by the hospital that a number of expatriate nurses could not return to work from vacation as a result of global travel bans, so the remaining nurses had to cover those shifts and remain on duty until the others returned.
Due to this, she won’t see her children for the foreseeable future.
“I was already booked to come back home on 5 April, but now they have cancelled international travel, which means we cannot go home until the restrictions are lifted,” she said. “The hospital sent us an e-mail on Thursday saying there won’t be anyone travelling for a month.”
According to Shelly, the atmosphere at the hospital was tense because staff were not notified when cases of the coronavirus emerged at the facility.
So far she had only heard of one case, but she feared the lack of transparency put everyone at risk.
“We know there are 118 cases but we don’t know where they are. Unlike back home, they do not say where the cases are, if they travelled from somewhere or anything like that. So you never know if you are in danger of contracting the disease.”
To make matters worse, her shifts had become more gruelling since the coronavirus outbreak, giving her virtually no time to seek assistance from the South African embassy.
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