May has been a deadly month among Filipino victims of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes, from 17 in the first week, the number of fatalities has spiked to 48 by May 21. Dubai authorities try to explain the possible reasons behind this morbid statistics among Dubai’s 500,000 Filipino expatriates.
According to a report by Daily Bread, Lt. Khalid Mohammed B. Banasser, Dubai Police spokesperson said at least four factors explain why this was so.
Filipinos living conditions make them vulnerable
“The information that I got about it is the close community that we have here in Dubai. Satwa and other areas like Muteena are very, very high,” Lt Banasser said, referring to the population number.
“So, in those areas, people living there have chances to live (together) like sharing. That is why (coronavirus) is very, very fast spreading,” Banasser added.
Filipinos, like other expat nationalities, tend to live in certain districts, and many of them have less than ideal living conditions, making them vulnerable to infections.
Filipinos seek medical attention late
Another factor cited in the high mortality rate among Filipino COVID-19 victims is that in most cases, the ones detected positive of the virus are rushed to the hospital only when it is already “very late.”
“The second thing is that some of the cases came to the hospital very late,” the police spokesperson said.
“One of the cases that I was linked with in the past few days, the patient said she was very, very sick. She came very, very late and she’s old. She was around 46.
“She said she thought that it was just maybe a cold or a fever ‘and I tried to fix it myself.’ But she couldn’t that’s why she came to the hospital,” Banasser said.
He offered a piece of advice: “If you feel anything, you don’t solve it by yourself. Just ask (for help). This is a big problem. There is (a big) community here (in Dubai) of Filipinos and it’s very crowded.”
Filipinos are afraid to lose their jobs
In many cases, Filipinos who are sick don’t immediately seek help because they don’t want a reduction of their pay in their absence or are afraid they’ll be let go by their employers. In the case of COVID-19, its symptoms are similar to common flu that those afflicted might make such an assumption.
Some of those who have died were revealed to manifest symptoms of COVID-19 for two weeks before they were brought to the hospital.
Filipinos aged above 50 belong to a vulnerable group
A significant number of Filipinos working in Dubai are above the age of 45 and were advised to stay indoors. But some of them insist on performing their duties to earn a living and don’t want a pay cut. Unfortunately, some of them have become infected with the virus.
Moody’s has earlier stated that Dubai’s economy is most at risk due to coronavirus.