Mother of three living a hermit-pauper life while husband quarantined in hospital

26 Mar 2020 / 09:47 H.

PETALING JAYA: While Covid-19 patients have all the care they need from medical personnel at hospitals, their spouses and children are left with little or no support.

Take the case of Nor Zarina Nayan, a 38-year-old mother of three. Her husband, a 38-year-old businessman, has been put in isolation at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital while she and their children, aged four to six, are still waiting for their test results that she is hoping will be negative.

She now has to take on the role of breadwinner for the family.

Their troubles began last week when her husband was diagnosed with the infection. He has been put under quarantine at the hospital since then.

When she and her children also felt unwell last week, they went to a clinic in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, to be tested and are now waiting for the results.

Nor Zarina constantly worries about where their next meal would come from.

“We are living on a tight budget and I only have a bag of rice and a dozen eggs that we hope will last us at least a week,” she said in a heart-wrenching interview with theSun.

Nor Zarina said her neighbours have been avoiding them after learning of her predicament, and this has made her and her children feel left out.

She said the neighbours used to deliver food to them regularly but when they found out that her husband had tested positive for Covid-19, they stopped helping.

“We are being shunned by many because they are afraid that we might spread the virus to them. We have no one to turn to for help,” she said.

Nonetheless, she is putting on a brave front.

“I know many other families are going through the same thing. We can pull through.”

For another woman, Sharifah, it was one problem after another.

Her husband Ahmad Hishamuddin, 56, who used to work for Malaysia Airlines, was offered a voluntary separation scheme last year.

That has made it difficult for her and her family to make ends meet, she said. But the worst was yet to come.

Last week, not only Ahmad but two of their five children tested positive for Covid-19.

Ahmad has been put in isolation at the Sungai Buloh Hospital since last Wednesday while their sons – aged 26 and 27 – have been warded at Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

“Now I’m fully dependent on my eldest son Muhammad Ashraf to help pay the bills and rent, buy the groceries and run errands.”

Sharifah said the remaining two of their five children, who are still living with them, have also been tested for Covid-19 and are waiting for the results.

Her eldest son Muhammad Ashraf, 29, lives on his own in Damansara.

“We are lucky to have our eldest son chip in so we still manage to sustain ourselves,” she said.

Just like Zarina, Sharifah felt that other people had been avoiding them but said “we understand that many will be afraid to come close to us”.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Malaysia has passed the 1,700 mark and 19 have succumbed to the infection at press time.

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