Pregnant American joins family after quarantine - GulfToday

Pregnant American joins family after quarantine


Hannah O’Reilly chats with her husband Daniel at their home in Dubai on Sunday. Reuters

Hannah O’Reilly, who is six months pregnant, has been reunited with her husband in the United Arab Emirates after first getting stranded in the United States by the coronavirus outbreak and then having to spend 11 days in quarantine in a UAE hotel.

“Here we go into freedom,” the 29-year-old American said as she finally left her room in the four-star Redisson Blu in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi last week, where she had been videoing her life in the hotel on her cellphone.

O’Reilly, a teacher with residency in the UAE, had been visiting family in New Jersey when the UAE suspended passenger flights as part of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Her British husband had stayed on in Dubai.

In her cellphone video, she recalled her mounting concerns about the costs of being stuck indefinitely in the United States, pregnant and without health insurance, as the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus spread rapidly around the country.

“Once my travel insurance ended, I was in a COVID-19 hotspot with the hospitals quickly reaching capacity,” she said. “I was really facing a financial crisis.”

After Emirati media highlighted her case, UAE authorities put her on an evacuation flight for Emiratis being repatriated to the Gulf Arab state from Washington D.C.

Grateful for her rescue, she has discussed the experience on the Instagram account @queenquarantineuae, where she has also highlighted cases of other UAE residents still stuck abroad.

Expatriates make up around 80% of the population of the UAE, which has recorded 4,123 coronavirus infections with 22 deaths.

With most flights halted and curfews in place, many idle UAE hotels that once served tourists and business travellers have offered themselves as quarantine centres.

On landing in the UAE, O’Reilly tested negative for the new coronavirus but was not permitted to leave her hotel room due to quarantine regulations and her temperature was taken each day.

Through the spyhole in the hotel room door, she could see masked workers sterilising hallway carpets daily.

Her husband had to get a permit to leave the house to collect her from the hotel under the rules of a 24-hour curfew currently imposed in Dubai to curb the spread of the virus.

O’Reilly said she was touched by the Emiratis who messaged her to say “Welcome home... we are happy you are here.”


Separately, the Al Hili drive-through medical testing centre for coronavirus receives 800 people per day, its director revealed.

The Al Hili drive-through medical testing centre was launched in Al Ain to conduct coronavirus, COVID-19, testing, to ensure the safety of local people and as part of the measures implemented by the UAE to limit the spread of the pandemic.

Dr. Huda Al Faqeeh, Director of the Centre, said that the centre began operating last week and receives between 600 and 800 people every day from 8:00 to 20:00 from Sunday to Thursday.

She stated that people must register their information using their Emirati ID and provide their phone number so they can be called about the test results. During the test, their temperatures will be checked and samples will be collected, and the entire process will not exceed three minutes, she added.

Dr. Al Faqeeh stressed that tests that take place in the centre are fast and safe, and results are released from between two to five days and are sent via SMS, while noting that some categories of people such as elderly citizens and residents, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases are exempt from fees.

Those who do not have any symptoms but wish to be tested may register through the local health authority, or call 8001717, or book an appointment and pay fees online, she explained.

Dr. Al Faqeeh expressed her pride at the country’s efforts and precautionary and preventive measures to combat coronavirus, such as offering testing around the country to limit cases and contain its spread.


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