Al Jazeera spoke to people from across the world on how the pandemic affected their and others’ lives.
Three years ago this day, the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, a once-in-a-lifetime event that tested the limits of humanity.
Societies in lockdown, untold numbers of people hospitalised, school closures, jobs lost and the death of loved ones became routine in the lives of billions of people.
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While many may want to forget the horrors wrought by the pandemic, others continue to suffer its physical, emotional and financial consequences.
Al Jazeera spoke to five people from around the world to understand how COVID-19 affected their lives and continues to do so:
Farath Shba, Singapore
Zaheer was only 18 months old when he succumbed to COVID-19 in June 2022, becoming the first reported death from the virus of a child below 12 years in Singapore.
After recording a temperature of nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the first few days of catching COVID, Zaheer’s condition worsened.
He suffered from violent seizures and was diagnosed with meningoencephalitis – a condition that leads to an inflammation of the meninges membranes and brain tissues. Zaheer was eventually placed on life support after doctors pronounced his brain non-functional.
“In life sometimes you think you could have done better. I feel that when it comes to Zaheer’s passing. I still feel the anger,” Zaheer’s father Farath Shba, holding back tears, told Al Jazeera from Singapore.
“That was very traumatising … I was not ready to let him go. Everyone told me to give up or get prepared for the worst but I simply could not,” Shba said.
Zaheer’s older brother Zayan, who is still a toddler, would constantly ask about him, their father said.