Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 28 May 2020

Coronavirus: Dubai mother whose toddler caught Covid-19 warns - 'stop finding excuses to leave home'

Fernanda Troy said too many residents are trying to find ways around the stay home order

Cecelia, 3, was infected with the coronavirus on March 24 but tested negative on April 1. Courtesy: Fernanda Troy
Cecelia, 3, was infected with the coronavirus on March 24 but tested negative on April 1. Courtesy: Fernanda Troy

A Dubai mother whose three-year-old daughter caught coronavirus has warned parents to "stop finding excuses" to step out of the house.

Fernanda Troy and her family spent almost 10 days in hospital and quarantine accommodation after testing positive for Covid-19.

The 36-year-old does not know where she, her daughter Cecilia, or husband Ivan came into contact with the virus.

But she said too many parents appeared to be unnecessarily taking their children out with them.

“Stop visiting your friends, stop going out - and stop finding excuses to step out of the house," she told The National after getting the all-clear.

The lockdown will last forever if we don't cooperate with efforts to stop the contamination

Fernanda Troy

"As much as you keep going out, we’ll have to stay in. The lockdown will last forever if we don't cooperate with UAE’s efforts to stop the contamination."

Ms Troy, who is from Brazil and works in Dubai as a project coordinator, was first to test positive on March 19. Her husband was confirmed to have Covid-19 on March 20, and then their daughter on March 24.

Ms Troy was already in “semi-quarantine” around the time she was tested, having stayed home for a full week when the school holidays were brought forward by a week.

Ms Troy said her symptoms - which vary significantly between patients, included loss of smell and taste.

Cecilia was asymptomatic and remained well throughout the family's ordeal.

“My husband’s oxygen saturation was low. He stayed in the hospital, receiving oxygen for five days,” she said.

“When the Dubai Health Authority called me to give me my daughter’s result I was already prepared for it, because I was positive before her and I started thinking of what to do.

“I was really afraid of losing my little girl."

Ms Troy praised the care she and her family were given, particularly a paediatrician who was in touch every day.

"She was supporting and reassuring us that everything would be alright and that my daughter has a very good health," she said.

Ms Troy urged families to stay indoors and self-isolate.

“It’s extremely necessary to stay home. We are surrounded by online shops that deliver to our doorstep – groceries, veggies and pharmacies,” she said.

“Parents staying home is a way to protect the kids. Going out is assuming the risk of getting infected and bringing the virus inside your home."

Ms Troy said she believed keeping a distance from her mother, who was staying with the family when they were diagnosed, may have saved her life.

“My mum is 59 and has been a smoker for the past 40 years; her lungs wouldn’t support it. [Social distancing] was the way we decided to protect her,” said Ms Troy.

Dr Nandu Thalange, a consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, said “no one is immune” to the virus, although children do appear to develop only mild symptoms.

He said he was most concerned for the large population of people with diabetes, who must ensure their condition is kept well under control.

"Even if you end up in hospital, it’s usually due to complication from diabetes or diabetes ketoacidosis," he said, in reference to a condition that causes the blood to become acidic.

Updated: April 9, 2020 01:12 PM

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