In April 2020, Abu Dhabi-based OFW Bionaflor Padrigo contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
She got sent to a hotel for initial quarantine prior to getting her test results. When Padrigo tested positive, she was sent to the Humanitarian City in Musaffah – a dedicated quarantine area for individuals who have contracted COVID-19. There, health authorities and frontliners took care of Padrigo until she got better by June 29.
“Ako po mismo na-experience ko kung paano ang asikaso at pag-iingat sa bawat patient. Everyone was treated equally and the best po ang kanilang pangangalaga in terms of physical, emotional and health comfortability. Talagang may assurance that you are in good hands,” recalled Padrigo, who works as an optometrist in the capital.
Padrigo’s story is but one of the many inspiring stories that prove how the UAE came in prepared to protect everyone living in the country from the huge impact of the pandemic. The country launched comprehensive initiatives and provided solutions for everyone to pull through the year.
“As a COVID-19 survivor, and experiencing how UAE cared and fought against COVID-19, I am with them in prayer and there is no doubt it will end soon. Living here for more than 10 years, isang pribilehiyo ang ma-witness at ma-experience ang buhay UAE. Malinaw yung mensahe sa akin na welcome ka dito, at iingatan kita,” said Padrigo.
Almost a million Filipino expats living and working here bore witness as to how the UAE has risen to the challenge of the pandemic.
Supporting growing businesses
When the pandemic hit the UAE, business owner Ann David was worried that her tailoring company would struggle when it comes to demand since sports events came to a halt. However, she managed to rethink the strategy from selling sports jerseys to manufacturing reusable cloth masks and has since managed to continue providing jersey clothes for those who would request in batches.
“As business owner, we are thankful that we survived 2020. And we’ve learned a lot especially since you never know how long this pandemic could last. We learned that you should learn to adapt to the needs of the times, protect your cash on hand by spending it wisely, and keep your employees informed about your plans,” said David.
She also thanked the UAE government for the provision of rent discounts and payment extensions as part of Abu Dhabi’s stimulus packages released for business owners to ease their worries on rent payments.
“With UAE’s continuous efforts to fight COVID-19, this 2021 ay optimistic tayo na babalik na sa normal ang sitwasyon, with safety precautions pa din syempre. In fact before 2020 ended, almost normal na ang lahat – what more now na nagpapamigay na rin ang bansang into ng libreng COVID-19 vaccine para sa lahat ng residente. Kaya naman talagang very impressive ang approach na ginawa ng UAE sa pag sugpo sa COVID-19 at pagsalubong sa 2021,” shared David.
Massive vaccination campaign
Following months of countrywide sterilization campaigns on the streets, buildings, and public spaces, and mass testing for COVID-19 that has now reached over 21.6 million, the country became among the first worldwide to approve two COVID-19 vaccines for use for the general public: the Sinopharm vaccine from China that underwent the third phase of human trial in the country’s #4Humanity Trials back in July, as well as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine jointly created by laboratories from USA and Germany that applied for emergency use in December.
Among those who have already received their vaccine shots is Jean Mary Perdiz, a shadow teacher who has been working the country for 12 years. She shared that she decided to take the vaccine not only to protect herself from the virus, but for the welfare of the students she teaches as well.
“Napagdesisyunan ko po na magpa-covid-19 vaccine dahil po sa school ako nagwowork para po sa safety ko at safety narin ng mga studyante namin,” shared Perdiz.
Perdiz received her first dose as part of the UAE’s emergency use campaign last November 11 and got her second dose last December 5. She shared that she only experienced minor pains when she got the jab.
“Nung unang vaccine po ay medyo nakaramdam ako nag pagkahilo which is normal naman po yun sa side effect nung vaccine,” said Perdiz who thanked the UAE government for providing assistance for frontliners like her to fight against the coronavirus disease.
“The UAE is always willing to provide all the medical assistance, including free-swab tests, and now the provision of the COVID-19 vaccine for frontliners like myself and residents too. On behalf of my fellow teachers, we wish to extend our sincerest gratitude to the UAE government from the bottom of our hearts. We can proudly say that we can defeat COVID-19 here in the UAE! Thank you,” she added.