A young physician, Dr. Usama Riaz, persevered in treating patients in Pakistan despite a lack of protective clothing during the CCP virus outbreak. Ultimately, he contracted the virus and lost his life; he has earned hero status in Pakistan for putting his own safety at risk for the sake of others.
As per Reuters, Riaz, 26, was diagnosed with the virus at the District Head Quarter Hospital in Gilgit on March 20, 2020; he died just two days later. A senior official of the Gilgit Health Department, Dr. Shah Zaman, told Reuters by phone that Riaz and nine colleagues had been screening pilgrims returning to Pakistan from neighboring Iran.
Zaman met Riaz at the CCP virus screening center just 24 hours before Riaz fell ill. “He later finished duty and went home,” Zaman regaled, as per Global Village Space.
“He was perfectly fine at that time and didn’t make any complaints,” the doctor continued. “However, when his wife tried to wake him the next day he did not respond and when they checked, he was unconscious.”
Riaz was taken to Combine Military Hospital and later moved to Gilgit’s Provincial Headquarters, where he remained on a ventilator for three days before succumbing to the virus. The Provincial Information Department declared Riaz a “martyr” and a “national hero” for his selfless devotion to serving others.
As per Pakistan’s The News, Riaz is reportedly the first Pakistani doctor to die after contracting the CCP virus.
The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs took to Twitter on March 23 to share their condolences. “We salute all the brave medical workers across South and Central Asia who are risking their lives to help the sick and keep us safe,” they wrote.
“Saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Usama Riaz, who was on the frontlines of the fight against #COVID19 in Pakistan,” they continued, adding, “The U.S. stands with you.”
We salute all the brave medical workers across South and Central Asia who are risking their lives to help the sick and keep us safe. Saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Usama Riaz, who was on the frontlines of the fight against #COVID19 in Pakistan. The U.S. stands with you. AGW
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) March 23, 2020
The French Ambassador of Pakistan, Dr. Marc Baréty, also posted a statement of sympathy and gratitude on social media on the occasion of Riaz’s death. “Our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Usama Riaz who died of serving coronavirus patients in Gilgit-Baltistan,” said Baréty, as per The News.
“His death reminds us of our hero medics fighting this pandemic on the front line all around the world,” the French Ambassador continued.
It is widely believed that Riaz contracted the CCP virus because he could not access the correct protective clothing and equipment.
On the same day that Riaz tested positive for the CCP virus, Dr. Asfandyar Khan, president of staff at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, delivered a request to the Pakistani government at a news conference. “We request the government to immediately provide us personal protection equipment,” he began, as per Reuters.
“It is like suicide to treat patients without protection,” Khan continued. “If infection spreads in hospitals, believe me, no person will be ready to touch any patient.”
A failure to deliver, Khan warned, could result in a strike by healthcare workers. Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal, the chief of Pakistan’s national disaster management department, quickly assured Khan that 12,500 pieces of personal protective equipment and 800 ventilators had been purchased and would be sent where they were needed.
As per The Economic Times, as of March 29, 2020, CCP virus cases in Pakistan reached 1,500, 12 people have died, and Pakistan has thus far recorded the highest number of cases in South Asia.
Dr. Usama Riaz’s heroic efforts exemplify the lengths that so many healthcare providers are going to to assist their patients in the midst of the pandemic. As case numbers continue to rise, protecting the medical personnel on the front lines becomes increasingly imperative.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
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Author: Louise Bevan