Monday, 1 Jun 2020

Bangladeshi worker who is Singapore's case 42 hopes to return home soon to be with wife and baby

SINGAPORE – Much has happened since Mr Raju Sarker, 39, was infected with Covid-19.

For one, the number of coronavirus infections has shot up to more than 30,000 since Mr Raju, Singapore’s case 42, was hospitalised in early February.

The Bangladeshi national, the first foreign worker in Singapore to contract the virus, has also become a father. His son was born on March 30.

Before he came down with Covid-19, he had worked in Singapore for close to a decade. But he hopes to return to Bangladesh soon to be with his family.

Mr Raju spent nearly three months in hospital, with the bulk of his time spent sedated and needing the help of a ventilator to breathe.

He saw his son for the first time over video chat in mid-April, a week after his condition improved and he was transferred out of the intensive care unit to a general ward in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

In an e-mail interview facilitated by the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) on Saturday (May 23), Mr Raju said: ” I felt good seeing them. I asked them how are they doing?”

He said doctors have told him that he will need to be hospitalised for about three more weeks, which could be extended depending on his condition.

On Thursday, a video of Mr Raju was uploaded to the MWC Facebook page, in which he encouraged his fellow migrant workers to observe the regulations set out by the Singapore Government to help stem the spread of Covid-19.

Migrant workers living in dormitories make up most of the Covid-19 cases here.

“If you fall sick, the Government will help you, just like when I fell sick, the Government stood by me. If you abide by the regulations, don’t be afraid, the Government will help and stand by you,” he said in the video.

Sharing the video on Facebook, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng also said Mr Raju will soon be moved to a community hospital.

Responding to The Straits Times’ questions, Mr Raju said he is feeling all right, “better than before” and that he spends most of his time exercising, having his meals, as well as talking to his family over the phone.

In recent weeks, Mr Raju’s situation has also become well-known to Singaporeans and was also noted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who wished him well.

When asked how he felt about this, Mr Raju said: “I felt good and thankful towards him.”

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