Manuel Sotelo III reacts as he talks to his 2-year-old daughter via video call as he lives alone. AP
Gulf Today Report
Uncertainties over the coronavirus remain, but there have been heartwarming anecdotes too, like the acts of courage and sacrifice of people helping deal with the unprecedented crisis at their life’s peril.
In the Philippines, 41-year-old anesthesiologist Manuel Sotelo III knew the risks but kept working in a hospital in a Manila coronavirus hotspot. He has to live apart from his family as an agonizing safeguard.
As he feared, he got infected. Although he didn’t show any of the dreadful symptoms, death was constantly on his mind and he struggled with isolation in an apartment. At one point while on quarantine, Sotelo recorded a farewell video for his daughter and wife.
"My greatest fear was not seeing nor being able to hold my daughter again,” he said.
After learning that he was free of the virus on April 20, Sotelo waited for days, then met his daughter in a tearful reunion. He donated plasma to help save a COVID-19 patient as an act of thanksgiving.
After the life-threatening experience, Sotelo had no qualms about courting danger again amid a lack of Philippine health personnel fighting infections. He donned layers of protective suits and a face mask to go back to work helping patients.
Nations like France and South Korea began resuming face-to-face classes as they got their outbreaks under control, but Philippine authorities see the risk as too great. President Rodrigo Duterte said last month that even if students could not graduate, they needed to stay out of school to fight the spread of the disease.
A year into the pandemic, infection rates are falling. Hospitals are quieter; morgues are emptier. Emboldened by vaccines, we’re dropping our masks and stepping closer. Slowly we’re reopening indoor dining, theaters, museums and schools.
Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder of Infosys, said Asia’s economic recovery is not far away, provided the pace of vaccination is increased so the region arrives at a herd immunity.
It’s a pathbreaking achievement. The fact that the UAE has started making the vaccine to treat the coronavirus is heart-warming to say the least. It is the first local initiative on the part of the nation, and could end importing the vaccine from
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