Palestinian family overcomes Covid-19 through confinement and social distancing

One morning, the world woke up on a virus widely spread that then was announced as Pandemic. People were living their normal lives, working, children at school, seniors looking for their graduation year. Families are missing at least one person in another country either for work, study or for the better reasons of a vacation or honeymoon. Yes, some marriages were planned and other national occasions; Global conferences were also planned, flights were booked and same were venues and hotel accommodation. The world became united for one unhealthy reason!

Palestine announced the first 17 infected persons in the city of Bethlehem, because this city received thousands of tourists and Pilgrims monthly to pray at the Church of Nativity, especially that Easter lent time has already started. The city was totally locked down, infected persons who tested positive were kept in quarantine, the tourists groups were evacuated after three days of confinement and the people who dealt with the infected ones were quarantined at dedicated hotels with medical and humanitarian attention.

As schools, kindergartens and Universities, as well as other public spaces, were totally shut down, measurements of e-learning were put in place by each institution, same as for teleworking; this did not become a choice for the public sector but rather an imperative to contain the spread of COVID-19 after the first cases were confirmed in Bethlehem city.

The numbers raised but not dramatically. Journalists were allowed to cover the daily lives and the situation on the ground, while the President and Prime Minister addressed the nation with pleads of cooperation and cautiousness, Among the different number of stories, shedding light on one particular story that demonstrated a high level of awareness, commitment and positivity is about “Samir Joubran family”; Samir is one of the famous three brothers’ band called “Le Trio Joubran”, a talented musician and caring father who lives in the city of Ramallah with his family.

Samir was expecting his daughter and her friend, both students in Paris, to arrive on the 15 March, the last day of his self-home-quarantine. Samir was indeed in Paris the month before, he did not experience any symptoms; his high spirit, positive energy, awareness and care for his community and family by his sporadic live streams in which he appeared from his self-home-quarantine to show that he was not infected and not even carrying the virus.

On that morning, the girls arrived directly from the airport and did not enter the apartment but greeted the family from the elevator and went directly up to the third floor, taking all the necessary sanitary measurements upon arrival, in order to self-quarantine themselves. “The family was eager to embrace and hug our daughter, but we thought of her and our health, and did not want to risk anyone else’s health if she was carrying the virus,” said Samir.

This did not last for more than one night, as both of them showed symptoms with fever. The family called the Palestinaian Health Institute who sent a sampling team around midnight and evacuated them directly to the hospital for medical attention and care. On the second morning they received confirmation that the results were positive”.

Samir and his family kept their positivity while dealing with this issue; they left their feelings aside and dealt with responsibility and commitment. Their affection and support through their music and songs via live steams with the two girls, tears were mixed with smiles but above all high spirits were keeping them connected.

One of the major bad adverse effect and impact of COVID-19 pandemic is the spreading of disinformation and fake news that were spreading around, this is a very sensitive health issue that affects the entire nation and should be dealt with great sensitivity, affection and sense of responsibility.

Samir added: “People should stop promoting rumors that added to our fragile feelings and get to worry us, as the results were not out yet, but rumors were spreading already that our daughter and her friend had the virus. We did not hide this information as soon as it was medically confirmed”.

Moreover, as UNESCO is combatting fake news and disinformation, we assured Samir and the local community that no efforts should be spared while transparency and access to information is the short way of educating the public. The Palestinian government, which is taking an up scaled procedures and measurements during this unusual situation.

Social media activists and journalists commended the Joubran family for their transparency, quoting positively: “the awareness both parents of the young woman affected with COVID-19 virus in Ramallah, and their action taken for their daughter and her friend in the home quarantine, contributed in preventing the virus spread, as the two girls have not had contact with anyone in Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate”.

It is very encouraging to know that Katia and her friend are recovering very nicely and have joined their families as we are reading this story.

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