MERSIN, Turkey

Balancing family life during the coronavirus pandemic is not easy. Yet some healthcare workers have been great role models to their children, and are also helping save the lives of COVID-19 patients.

Dads in Turkey’s southern Mersin province carry on with their devoted fight against the virus even on Father’s Day.

They continue to serve at the Mersin City Training and Research Hospital, and have to take extra care when meeting their families due to a possible risk of virus transmission.

Mehmet Muku, 51, says it is hard to express the feeling of paternity, which he met in his later years.

Responsible for the PCR lab, Muku said his wife is also a healthcare worker, and they avoid making close contact with their daughter during the outbreak.

“When I enter the door, my child runs toward me. Her mother holds her, and I sneak in the house,” he said, adding that he tries to keep the little one away without hurting or upsetting her. “It is really difficult… being a father is a great feeling but our job is sacred.”

Nurse Ali Riza Gocen, 30, says he disinfects himself as soon as he enters home.

“We have been passing through a hard time as healthcare workers. It is a bad feeling that you cannot hug your children,” he said.

Erkan Yanik, an anesthesia technician who became a father just a year ago, expressed similar sentiments, saying he marked the day somberly.

Over 8.81 million infections have been reported in 188 countries and regions since the virus emerged in China late last year, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The US, Brazil, Russia and India are the worst-hit countries.

The virus has claimed nearly 465,000 lives worldwide, while recoveries are over 4.38 million.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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