Eid Al Adha in UAE: Meet the frontliners keeping you safe during the holidays
Pakistani expat Dr Saba Iqbal Awan, who works as a general practitioner at Burjeel Hospital in Dubai, will be on a 12-hour shift on Tuesday starting at 9am.
This Eid Al Adha break, not everyone will be out on holidays: In fact, many Muslim frontliners are on call. Duty comes first, they said, especially at a time when the Covid-19 virus is still around.
Pakistani expat Dr Saba Iqbal Awan, who works as a general practitioner at Burjeel Hospital in Dubai, will be on a 12-hour shift on Tuesday starting at 9am. “Although I am working, I’ve decided that during my lunch hours, I’ll be ordering in a special meal to mark the day. It’s Eid, after all. I am a little envious of people who are off tomorrow,” Saba said with a laugh.
While Covid cases have started dropping, the Dubai doctor has a word of caution for all. “Please be warned that the pandemic hasn’t gone away completely. People should not gather in large numbers. Enjoy everything in moderation…whether it’s consuming food or meeting up with friends. The vaccine is protecting societies but it cannot stop people from catching the virus if individuals do not adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.”
For Mohammad Feriyad, a nurse in Lifecare Hospital Musaffah, Abu Dhabi, said working during public holidays in such unprecedented times is no big deal.
“I am currently on night shifts. So my shift timings are from 7pm to 7am. Coronavirus hasn’t completely gone away. Besides, the government is also trying its best to ensure that people are safe. So we are doing our bit,” said the 49-year-old expat.
“At our hospital, we are also a bit short-staffed as many people want to go on leave during this time. But frankly, I am fine with working on Eid. I will celebrate Eid with my wife during off-duty hours or maybe on my day off.”
Ambulance drivers are also among the frontline heroes who are always on stand by for the community. “We get called in four to five times a day. We have to pick up people from different places and bring them to the hospital for which I work. Some of the patients are in critical conditions. Last year, I was also working on Eid. I am quite used to it,” said Ashraf Ahmed Khassim who has been in the UAE for the past 15 years working at Prime Hospital, Dubai.
“I don’t mind working on Eid. It’s the nature of the job, my commitment to my work precedes everything else.”
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