MANILA (Reuters) – After taking a job in a hospital’s COVID-19 emergency room, Philippine doctor Jan Claire Dorado planned to move out of the family home to protect relatives from the risk of infection.
Jan Claire Dorado, 30, a doctor assigned to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Emergency Room of East Avenue Medical Center, bonds with her mother and cat from behind the small plastic window on her makeshift isolation room to protect her family from potential exposure to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, June 26, 2020. Picture taken June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
But Dorado’s parents insisted the 30-year-old keep living at home, so her father constructed a makeshift isolation area in a storage room there.
Now, when she returns from work at one of the country’s main hospitals treating coronavirus patients, her dinner is placed outside the room’s door on a stool.
“The hardest part is being away from them. I miss them a lot,” said Dorado, who greets family members from behind a plastic window on a wall covered in foil.
Her parents are considered high-risk for COVID-19 because of preexisting conditions, and Dorado said she once painfully refused her mother’s request for a hug.
Hundreds of Philippine medical workers have been infected by the coronavirus and more than 30 have died.
Safekeeping loved ones is also a high priority for paediatrician Mica Bastillo, even as she confronts COVID-19 head on.
The 38-year-old took on a new role at a children’s hospital in another part of Manila after it became a COVID-19 referral facility in April.
“My family thought about asking me to resign, but anywhere I go I would still have to face COVID,” she said.
With her father and sister battling medical conditions, the family built a makeshift tent next to their home for Bastillo, which they dubbed a “quarantent”.
Made out of plastic sheets to keep out the rain, it allows Bastillo to be with her family at a safe distance.
“My mother put the curtains and the table cloth to make it look like home… And my brother added the plastic sheet. It was a real family effort,” said Bastillo, who still joins her family for nightly prayers seated beside the front door wearing a mask.
Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Writing by Ed Davies. Editing by Gerry Doyle