Imam Nazrudeen Mohammed

As local Muslims join the global Islamic community in celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr today, the family of a Tableland imam is urging brothers and sisters in the faith to do so while following the public health regulations.

The plea comes as COVID-19 has further deteriorated the health of Tableland ASJA Mosque’s Imam Nazrudeen Mohammed to the point where his family is unsure of his survival.

Mohammed’s son, Fareed, told Guardian Media yesterday that since admitting his father to the Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre on Tuesday, he cannot get a ventilator because all are in use.

Now Mohammed’s organs are affected and he requires a bed in the Intensive Care Unit, which is at capacity. Fareed said even if a bed becomes available, there are three other critical patients in a queue for ICU care.

He said, while there were efforts to transfer Mohammed to another COVID-19 care facility, the rapid spread of the virus and the increase in hospitalisation means that other hospitals are either filled or nearing capacity.

“His deterioration is because of a lack of treatment via the ICU. It could be adverse for him. He might not make it because the facility cannot accommodate the number of people inside there right now. It is full. I was told that there are people in line waiting to get into the ICU. They are also in front of him and are suffering as well.”

Mohammed had four heart bypass surgeries, is diabetic and recently began experiencing kidney problems.

Eid-ul-Fitr is a joyous time for many Muslims, but 2021 is not a happy year for the Mohammed family. Mohammed would usually pray at the mosque and visit members before returning home to cook and share with his community.

But with COVID-19 restrictions, he planned to package the food to distribute.

“At this time, there is no Eid because of his condition and the status of the family. That is unthinkable right now.”

As the Islamic community celebrates today, Fareed wants everyone to adhere to the public health regulations and guidelines.

“It does not matter your age, your size, your gender or your religion. Everybody has customary ways they will go about an occasion. Bearing (in mind) that it is Eid, Muslims in the faith will want to do things and still squeeze in a little time with family or friends. At this time, that is not a wise thing because the virus spread is airborne. Nobody knows what you will touch or what you might do to contract it, like my father, who was going to the mosque and acquired this virus.”

Mohammed, 70, started exhibiting symptoms last Friday and went to get tested at the Lengua Health Centre. While awaiting his results, his condition worsened, and by Monday, he began suffering shortness of breath. Two hours after his test results showed he had the virus on Tuesday, an ambulance took him to the Augustus Long Hospital.

Fareed said that Mohammed was conscious about his health and followed the law that mandated that gatherings at places of worship do not exceed five people. However, he said, one of the members contracted the virus and went to the mosque. So far, two others who attended are unwell.

“He never went to the grocery, he never went to the shops, he never went anywhere. He was careful. My mother, however, never even went to the mosque. She was home right through because she was fearful of this virus.”

Fareed said his mother tested negative for the virus but remains in quarantine with his brothers, hoping and praying that no one else falls ill.

Acknowledging that many people were moving about carelessly, doubting the seriousness of COVID-19, Fareed said he sees how easy it is the contract the virus.