Coronavirus: 'Healthy' NHS nurse, 36, in intensive care after contracting COVID-19

Sunday 22nd March 2020 19:15 GMT

Areema Nasreen is on a ventilator in intensive care in Walsall Manor Hospital in the West Midlands - where she has worked for the past 16 years.

The mother-of-three developed symptoms 10 days ago, starting with body aches, a high temperature and then a cough.

On Friday, she tested positive for the highly contagious respiratory disease COVID-19, which has infected more than 300,000 people worldwide.

A doctor at the hospital confirmed to Sky News that his colleague was very sick and in a critical condition.

Speaking anonymously, he said her condition had "deteriorated very quickly".

He added: "I can't confirm much but I can say she deteriorated within the space of 24 hours and is in ITU [intensive treatment unit]. I agree we need awareness regarding this so people realise the role the NHS is playing and risking themselves."

Her sister Kazeema Nasreen, who works as a healthcare assistant at the same hospital, told Sky News that the family think she could have picked it up "virtually anywhere".

The 22-year-old healthcare assistant added that her sibling was on annual leave when she first started showing symptoms and doesn't think she picked it up from work.

She confirmed her sister is currently in a critical condition and on a ventilator, but "making tiny little progress".

As Ms Nasreen lives with her husband and three children, they are now in isolation and unable to visit her.

Kazeema said she got the chance to visit her sister, who repeatedly praised the hospital staff for taking good care of her.

Before being put on a ventilator, Ms Nasreen sent out a text to everyone to let them know and asked everyone to show the utmost respect to the NHS staff who she called her "family".

Ms Nasreen began working at Walsall Manor Hospital as a housekeeper and qualified as a staff nurse in January last year.

In words of encouragement for people thinking about going into nursing - especially those from Muslim backgrounds - she said at the time: "I would like to think that I can inspire others. I cry every morning because I am so happy that I have finally realised my dream of becoming a nurse."

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"I would urge anyone reading this to not give up."

She also told of how she had aspired to become a nurse since she was a teenager after caring for her grandmother who suffered a stroke.

"I just wanted to be able to look after people, particularly those who are elderly and vulnerable," she said.

The number of people who have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus has risen by 48 to 281.

Infections have increased by 635 to 5,683, the Department of Health said.

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