"Recovering from the novel coronavirus caused me less suffering than determining whether I had contracted it," said a survivor who – along with his wife and a daughter – went through the ordeal and has shared his experience.
Emdadul Hoque Khan, who works as a senior reporter at a daily newspaper named Bangladesher Khabor, was diagnosed with Covid-19 on April 10.
In a conversation with The Business Standard, he gave a brief description of his battle against the disease.
Emdadul, a resident of the capital's Moghbazar area, first noticed symptoms of the virus on April 1.
However, it took him nine days to confirm that he had contracted the virus. He faced an unbearable amount of hassles to get his Covid-19 test.
"Initially, I thought I had a normal fever and cold. So, I took antibiotics recommended by a doctor known to me," said Emdadul.
However, his temperature continued to increase abnormally and he started coughing and feeling severe throat pain.
Emdadul failed to reach the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) but he went to three hospitals – including Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) – twice, and the Padma Diagnostic Center in Moghbazar.
He went to the DMCH on April 5, and BSMMU on April 7, then showed his X-ray report and DMCH prescription. Yet he was not given a Covid-19 test.
"Doctors suggested I continue the medicine," said Emdadul.
"However, my condition was deteriorating day-by-day. In the meantime, I posted a status on my Facebook page describing my situation," said Emdadul – after he had recovered.
Later, with the help of a friend, who is a journalist, Emdadul got access to a doctor at the IEDCR who recommended he take the novel coronavirus test as soon as possible.
"On April 9, I went to the MSMMU and was able to give my sample after waiting for three hours," he said.
The most shocking news came on April 10, when he received a call from the Dhaka civil surgeon's office. Emdadul was told that he was positive for Covid-19.
"The information was like a thunderstorm for me. I felt my surroundings grew dark. All kinds of tension overwhelmed me. I started thinking of my family," he continued.
Emdadul is not sure how he caught the virus. However, he said he met his friends on March 28 and suspects he contracted the virus from them – as two of them later tested positive for Covid-19.
The nightmare started hitting hard from then. Police locked his house down immediately.
"All of a sudden, my neighbours started bullying us as to why we did not let them know about our infection," said Emdadul.
"They were not allowing my younger child to stay home after she had tested negative for the virus," he said.
"Then I called my landlord and requested him to allow my daughter to stay home. He understood and managed my neighbours," said Emdadul.
However, all of my family members were taken to Regent Hospital in Uttara on April 10.
"On the way to the hospital, sitting in the ambulance, I wondered who of my family would survive. If any of us were to die, then who would take care of my children?," he said.
Later, his wife and elder daughter were confirmed to have contracted Covid-19, but they did not have symptoms of the virus.
"Even worse tension overwhelmed me once again, and I wondered whether the three of us would be able to go back home or not. I called on the almighty Allah the whole time," Emdadul said.
He said doctors recommended they take antibiotics and eat fruit that help increase antibodies – including oranges, malta and lemon. A mix of lemon and ginger with hot water was another treatment for them.
"Meanwhile, we started healing and we three had almost completely recovered by April 20," said Emdadul.
They received the good news on April 22, when his wife tested negative for the virus.
The following day, his eldest daughter and he also got the same good news.
"Now, it feels like [we have] a new life," Emdadul said with a smile.
He expressed his heartfelt thanks to the doctors, his colleagues and journalist leaders for being beside him during the days of his difficulty.
Emdadul has called upon all to follow the personal health guidelines and to maintain government instructions on social distancing.
"Please do not get close to your family members without washing your hands properly once you are back home from outdoors," requested Emdadul.