When the protective bubble bursts Image Credit: Jose Luis Barros/©Gulf News

Dubai: I heard the news on April 1 and wished it was just a prank. A former roommate, who moved out of our flat only a couple of days back, called me and said that one his colleagues had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

I didn’t how to react. Things came to my mind all at once. Despite the growing number of infections and fatalities in world, I thought I was safe in the comfort of my own home as I’ve been working from home for a forthnight

But my protective bubble has burst. I felt like the virus has invaded my room. I asked my former roommate for further details and he said his colleague arrived from the sub-continent first week of March. The staff showed no symptoms after undergoing a two-week voluntary quarantine but got sick towards the end of March and was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 28.

I had planned to vacate the flat on March 30. But the days leading to that were crucial. I was still living with my erstwhile roommate. He went to work; probably had direct contact with his colleague; and went home. We shared the same 45-square metres flat; used the same kitchen (and the same plates, utensils, glass, etc), toilet, bath and living room.

I called him again on Thursday to check on his condition and to inquire if he has shown any symptoms like fever, cough, cold, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, He said none.

I too have not experienced any changes in my body or flagging of my condition, except for the continuing mental anxiety.

I have moved to another flat and I’m staying in my room alone. I have agreed to quarantine myself until the second week of April.

I haven’t called any hospital yet but have already informed my employer. My friend who has also moved out and quarentined himself. I heard his company in Jebel Ali has undergone deep cleaning and sterilisation and mine has done the same.

Life, however, continues and we carry on with our work every day. We have also informed our respective families and they have been keeping our morale high.

We hope and pray that we will come out of this pandemic unscathed and for this global virus to come to an end - like the prank that I wished it was.