It is difficult to maintain social distancing in highly populated areas where people live in proximity. This study aimed to qualitatively explore experiences of COVID-19 recovered patients residing in one such area. We employed semi-structured face-to-face interviews. An interview guide was developed, validated, piloted, and minor changes were made. People living in this area, above 18 years of age, and recovered from COVID-19 were approached for the interviews, 11 of them were recruited to be interviewed, and their verbal informed consent was audio recorded. The interviews were conducted in the Arabic language in a semi-private area of the community center, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed later. Thematic analysis generated 30 subthemes, which were categorized into seven overarching themes: information about COVID-19; life during COVID-19 illness; spreading of COVID-19; precautionary measures; interventions that helped in recovery; impact of COVID-19 on life; support received during COVID-19 illness. Experiences of people from the hotspot who had recovered from COVID-19 highlighted what life had been like in the hotspot under lockdown, especially with having been afflicted with the infection, factors that facilitated their recovery, and the way their lives were and have been affected due to COVID-19.


COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown, hotspot, patient experiences, qualitative case study

Author Bio(s)

Majid Ali (Corresponding Author) is currently serving as a Lecturer of Pharmacology in College of Medicine at Sulaiman Al-Rajhi University, Al-Qassim, KSA. He graduated with M.Sc. in Clinical Pharmacy from University College London, UK, and started his career as a researcher. He was associated with the School of Pharmacy, University of Hertfordshire, UK for eight years where he was the winner of several academic awards for his teaching and assessment skills including Vice-Chancellor Tutor of the Year, and Faculty Excellence Award in Blended Learning in 2012. He served at Umm Al-Qura University, KSA from 2015 till 2021 as a Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy. He is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA) in the UK. He has supervised and published several research papers based on qualitative methodology. Please direct correspondence to mm.ali@sr.edu.sa.

Ejaz Cheema is currently a Professor and Dean of School of Pharmacy in University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. He received his doctorate degree in Pharmacy Practice from University Warwick, UK. Previously he has been associated with University of Birmingham, UK for three years and Umm Al-Qura University, KSA for three years as an Assistant Professor. He is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA) in the UK. He has supervised and published several research papers based on qualitative methodology.

All the other authors were 6th year Pharm.D. students at the College of Pharmacy, Umm Al-Qura University, KSA at the time of conducting of this research and are now currently serving as medical representatives with different pharmaceutical companies except Akrm Abdulaziz who is a pharmacy resident in a hospital in KSA. They have also conducted a qualitative research project and published two papers in their 5th year Pharm.D. program.


The authors acknowledge all the academic staff who helped in the translation and validation of the interview guide. The authors would also like to thank the community leader, the official translator of Nakkasah and all the participants for their cooperation throughout this study.

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