A doctor who treated blue-collar workers before he contracted the coronavirus and died was honoured by the UAE government this week with a Fallen Frontline Workers Order.
Dr Muhammad Usman Khan, who worked as a general practitioner at the Care Point Clinic in Abu Dhabi, died on May 15 at the age of 56.
He was the first Pakistani doctor in the UAE to be lost to the pandemic and left behind his wife, Alia Usman, and two children, Mohanad, 6, and Akhdan, 5.
On Monday, Ms Usman, 42, received a call from a representative of the Fallen Frontline Workers Order, which was formed by order of President Sheikh Khalifa to honour those who died while working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Ms Usman said she was touched by the sentiment.
“I feel happy that my husband’s hard work and sacrifice will not be forgotten,” she said.
“I was told that they would help in everything possible for us – my children’s education, housing and UAE visa.
“My husband was a hard worker and cared a lot about his patients. He never turned anyone away and was deeply committed to his work. It’s an honour for us that we have received a call from the office."
She said she was told that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, would call her soon.
Dr Khan moved to the UAE about 11 years ago to work as a doctor.
He did not have any underlying health conditions and was admitted to hospital on May 2 after he tested positive for Covid-19.
“Twenty-five per cent of his lungs had been consumed by the virus,” said Ms Usman.
Dr Khan's condition gradually worsened and, less than two weeks later, he was dead.
“It’s tragic that my kids lost their father at such a young age, but he left this world as a hero and I will always remind them of that," she said.
Dr Khan told his wife that, should the worst happen, he wished to be buried in his home country.
However, owing to Covid-19 precautions that restrict the repatriation of the bodies of virus parents, Dr Khan was laid to rest in the UAE.
Ms Usman was able to say her final goodbyes before the burial.
"We are grateful to the UAE government for helping us make this country our second home," he said.