PEI

Isolating UPEI student describes 'gruesome scenes' on return from India

A self-isolating UPEI student is urging Prince Edward Islanders not to let their guard down during the COVID-19 pandemic, after returning from a visit to his family in India.

‘People gasping for breath but being turned away’

Ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients line up waiting for their turn to be attended at a dedicated COVID-19 government hospital in Ahmedabad, India, on Thursday. (Ajit Solanki/The Associated Press)

A UPEI student is urging Prince Edward Islanders not to let their guard down during the COVID-19 pandemic, after returning from a visit to his family in India.

India reported 332,730 new cases Friday, the highest daily count for any country during the pandemic.

But MBA student Sidharth Dahr, speaking to CBC News as he continues to self-isolate following his return, said numbers cannot capture the terrible scenes he saw in Delhi.

"India indeed is going through a catastrophic situation right now. Several of my family members, my sister's family, my grandfather's entire family, my cousin unfortunately got infected," Dahr told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.

"My cousin is not doing so well. He has been shifted to the ICU."

But Dahr's family members have been able to receive care in hospital. This week some hospitals have put up signs saying they are full and accepting no more patients. Where beds are available the supply of oxygen is short.

"I saw this person, he was on his motorbike. He had his wife with him. He was shouting outside one of the hospitals which is close to my house, and he was turned away," said Dahr.

"My heart is full of emotions and there seems to be a storm in my head. Even as, right now, I am in P.E.I. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night thinking of those gruesome scenes I saw in Delhi, of people gasping for breath but being turned away."

A difficult journey

The scenes from Delhi also haunted Dahr on his return trip to P.E.I.

He required a negative test in India before boarding the plane for Newark. He remained masked for the entirety of the 12-hour flight, not even taking a sip of water, he said. He was tested again in Newark before travelling to Toronto, again in Toronto, and he has been tested on P.E.I. where he remains in self-isolation.

After seeing first hand what is happening in India, Dahr wants to stress to Islanders the importance of working together to beat the pandemic, by paying attention to public health rules.

"Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, do not party, don't meet up with people," he said.

"Please don't put your guard down."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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