KARACHI, Pakistan

Although grand celebrations were missing in Pakistan on Tuesday to commemorate the International Nurses Day, people have been acknowledging the role of nurses who have gone beyond their call of duty to combat the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic.

Many nurses who tested positive and were quarantined have returned to their duties to attend patients soon after their recovery.

Wearing a protective suit, face mask, goggles, and gloves, Sabra Parveen,35, is attending to patients at the neurology ward of Dr. Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi.

Holding a chart and wheeling a blood pressure device attached to a stand, she is walking from one bed to another.

Her busy schedule does not reflect that she had resumed her duties just a couple of days ago after recovering from the coronavirus.

Parveen tested positive for COVID-19 in the second week of April and was self-isolated at home until she recovered.

“It was like a nightmare. I just had in mind what would happen if I would test positive again? What would happen to my kids?” Parveen, a mother of three, told Anadolu Agency.

She had asked her sister to take care of her kids, as her husband was out of town.

“I was alone at home for the next 14 days. My brother would bring food for me and drop it at my doorstep. I could not even see him,” she recalled.

But the resilient nurse recovered and resumed her duties to attend to patients.

Amirullah, 34, also resumed his duties last week after recovering from the coronavirus.

A father of two, the male nurse, who was assigned to perform duties at a special ward for coronavirus patients for over a month, tested positive on March 30. He remained in self-isolation for a month at his home, which was under construction.

“My family had already moved to my brother’s house due to construction work at my home, which later served as a quarantine center for me,” he said.

Nurses at risk

The World Health Organization has already declared 2020 to be the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in celebration of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), the founder of modern nursing.

Thousands of nurses are at the forefront of Pakistan’s battle against a formidable coronavirus outbreak which has already infected 30,941 and killed 667.

More than 440 healthcare workers across Pakistan, including 70 nurses, have tested positive for COVID-19, and eight have died, according to the latest data from authorities.

The sharp rise in new cases among healthcare workers comes amid ongoing protests by the medical community over a lack of personal protective equipment and the government’s decision to ease lockdown restrictions.

“Initially, let me admit — I was very scared. Also, about myself and my kids. But I got relaxed when I started feeling better,” said Parveen.

“And now I am not at all scared, as I have already gone through the worst time,” she said. “That’s why I am back to my duties.”

Amirullah, however, said he had never lost his confidence.

“I had already seen too much during my time in the coronavirus ward. I knew how to handle this disease.

“I am fully ready to resume my duties at the same ward,” he said with a smile.

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