Coronavirus: daughter 'desperate' to board a flight to Dubai to be closer to her critically-ill father

Harikrishna Patel, a successful businessman who has lived in the emirate since the 1970s, is on a ventilator in Al Zahra Hospital

Harikrishna Patel is being treated for Covi-19 at Al Zahra Hospital. Last Tuesday, his condition worsened and he was placed on a ventilator. Harshi Patel 
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The daughter of a critically-ill coronavirus patient is "desperate" to board a flight to Dubai to be close to her father.

Harshi Patel, who now lives in New York with her husband Elvis Rodricks, is "rooting for" father Harikrishna Patel from afar but is eager to fly to the Emirates to support him.

Both Ms Patel and her husband were born and raised in Dubai and return every December to see their parents.

Harikrishna Patel, a successful businessman who has lived in the emirate since the 1970s, has been in Al Zahra Hospital for over a week with symptoms of the virus.

The 68-year-old was placed on a ventilator on Tuesday after his condition worsened.

His age, combined with the fact he is diabetic, and had a heart bypass operation a few years ago puts him at extremely high risk of developing further complications.

“They admitted him and he got progressively worse,” said Ms Patel.

“At this point he’s on a ventilator. We are rooting for him. It’s been really hard because we really want to be there.”

The couple has been told the next three days are critical.

“We have been talking to our doctor in the US. Ironically, he’s a lung specialist who grew up in Dubai. He’s on the forefront out in Chicago,” said Mr Rodricks.

“He’s been looking at the reports and saying they are doing everything they can, which is more than anything any hospital in the United States would do. But he is high risk and we just don’t know what will happen. This is what scares us.”

Ms Patel, said her mother is alone, and the couple want to be there to support her and be closer to him.

“We are just feeling helpless not being able to be there,” said Mr Rodricks.

International air travel was brought to a near standstill last month because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

But repatriation flights have continued to run. To date, the UAE has brought home 2,286 Emiratis from 43 countries and helped repatriate more than 22,000 people stuck in the country because of travel restrictions.

The couple, who both moved from Dubai to America in the early 2000s, have been trying since Tuesday to get a seat on any potential flights from the United States.

But they have not been able to speak to anyone who can help so far, and they do not know where else to turn.

“I have emailed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I have gotten in touch with all the ministers on the website,” said Mr Rodricks.

“At this point it looks like there might be flights mid next month, but we don’t have time. Time is not on our side.”

He said it was not clear how Mr Patel contracted the virus as he had not left home since Dubai introduced a 24-hour stay at home order on April 4.

Mr Rodricks said his father-in-law has a “rags to riches” story, having moved to the UAE about 40 years ago, when he started a successful rice business.

“He’s been an inspiration to me. Where he is right now is really sad.”