‘I could not leave’ says Saudi doctor on the frontlines of Italy’s coronavirus battle

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One Saudi Arabian doctor remained in Italy to work as a doctor, rather than return home when Saudi Arabia announced it would repatriate its citizens from the coronavirus-hit European country.

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“I could not leave,” the 28-year-old Dr. Nasser al-Abdulali told Al Arabiya. “The sounds of the ambulances and cars transporting the dead filled the city, and my role as a doctor [is essential] during these crises.”

Italy has reported 143,626 cases of the coronavirus and 18,279 virus-related deaths so far.

A nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 9, but new cases still emerge, even though Italy seems to have passed the peak of the virus and daily new case counts reported are lower than they were in mid-March.

In the Lombardy region alone, which was particularly hard-hit, where al-Abdulali has been treating coronavirus patients alongside Italian doctors in the city of Lodi, a total of 54,802 cases have been reported.

The 28-year-old, who has lived in Italy since 2011, moved to the country to study at the University of Pavia.

“Working at the hospital is exhausting and long, and the responsibilities are a lot, because the number of patients is a lot,” he said.

After watching al-Abdulali work on the COVID-19 frontlines working to help save hundreds of lives, his landlord refused to accept al-Abdulali’s rent as an expression of gratitude on behalf of the Italian people, al-Abdulali told Al Arabiya.

The Saudi Arabian doctor urged everyone in the Kingdom to adhere to preventive measures, warning citizens and residents that the virus has infected both the young and old.

Saudi Arabia has reported 3,287 cases and 44 coronavirus deaths.

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