By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Henrik Baerentsen believes he contracted the virus while skiing in Austria
Dubai expat Henrik Baerentsen is now one of over 936,000 people around the globe who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. Now recovered, he has one message for others: “we need to take it seriously.”
Baerentsen, a 41-year old Danish national and managing director of a boutique consulting firm that specialises in innovation, believes he contracted Covid-19 while on a week-long skiing holiday in the Austrian village of St. Anton, in the Tyrolean Alps.
While he initially tested negative for the virus immediately after returning to Dubai and going into isolation in early March, Baerentsen quickly noticed that something was wrong after he was discharged.
“I started getting a little bit worse flu symptoms,” he told Arabian Business. “I went back to the hospital two days later, and was again put into isolation and tested positive. That’s where the whole system started.”
In Baerentsen’s case, he said that he was fortunate in that his symptoms were relatively mild.
“It was like having a flu. I didn’t really have any fever. I had a little bit [of discomfort] in my throat and in my nose, but I was extremely tired and I had a severe headache. I was never really feeling that bad. I had a very mild version of it.”
In total, Baerentsen remained in the hospital for 14 days before being discharged after testing negative for coronavirus three times. He credits the staff at a local hospital - Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital in Healthcare City – for ensuring a smooth recovery process.
“The hospital and the staff were extremely attentive and professional. They had all the medication, and all the treatments available. Even the food was very good,” he added. “It was extremely positive and a very good experience, under the circumstances.”
Now safely back at home, Baerentsen is urging UAE residents – locals and expats alike – to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously and follow the guidelines given by authorities to combat its spread.
“This doesn’t just happen to the neighbour. This is not just one of those things. This could happen to all of us,” he said. “We have a responsibility to our families, loved ones, colleagues, community and country we are in to try stay safe.”
“In this case, staying safe means staying at home,” he added. “Let’s be one country and one community and take care of each other. This is a serious thing and it can happen to everybody.”
Reflecting on the last month, Baerentsen said that his experiences have left him with a deep sense of appreciation for life, and particularly for the workers on the frontlines of the fight against Covid-19.
“When you see that doctor come in, in full attire, it yanks you out of your world and you start appreciating the smaller things,” he explained. “As soon as I’m out of my quarantine period, the first thing I’m going to do is start volunteering wherever I can.”
Globally, there have been 936,829 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of the morning of April 3, including over 47,000 deaths and 194,000 recoveries.