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Riyaz, Ruksan and Rifsal Ismail Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Three brothers, who work on the frontline at COVID-19 isolation centres in Dubai, said they are grateful to their parents and to the UAE for being able to put their combined might in the service of others during the unprecedented pandemic times.

Call it coincidence or a quirk of fate, Riyaz, Ruksan and Rifsal Ismail, three Indian siblings from Cherkala in Kasargod of Kerala, not only work for the same public health service, but have also been called upon to play the same roles as isolation centre lab technicians ever since the coronavirus outbreak. And each day, as they collect samples and perform tests, it’s never without a prayer. A positive prayer for negative results.

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The Ismail brothers - Ruksan, Riyaz and Rifsal Image Credit: Supplied

As far as they are concerned, it’s become a part of the protocol they follow.

“It would be no exaggeration to say that serving on the frontline at a time like this is spiritually rewarding,” said Riyaz, 36, the eldest of the three who came to the UAE in 2003. “Despite the fears and harsh realities surrounding coronavirus, we find ourselves blessed to do what we are doing.”

Riyaz said he and his brothers have been putting up at hotels, to limit exposure to their families residing in Sharjah. But don’t they miss them? “Now is the time to respond to our calling. Our families are very understanding,” he noted.

While Riyaz has a six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son, his brothers Ruksan and Rifsal have an infant son each.

Ruksan said he followed in the footsteps of his brother and came to the UAE in 2016 while Rifsal arrived the next year.

The brothers said although their parents were not in the medical profession, they always encouraged them to get into the field. “Our father Ismail is a public works contractor and mother Jameela is a housewife. Right from the beginning, they motivated us to get into health care as it is a very noble profession. We are really thankful for that,” said Ruksan.

Rifsal said, “There is no better time than now to realise the full potential of what they meant. The current situation makes us realise how important health care is.”

Despite dealing with numbers in their daily grind, the brothers said every result is invariably accompanied by a telling tale. They said they are moved by the range of feelings that patients and their families go through as they grapple with the crisis. From anxiety and pain to relief and gratitude, the spectrum of emotions is wide, they added.

“But what is reassuring is that we are in a place like the UAE where no effort is spared in patient care. Even we as frontline workers feel very safe. We do get tests done every now and then, but the protection we are provided is world-class and we would personally like to thank the country’s leaders, the health authorities and our line managers for all the support they provide,” said Riyaz.