In one Beirut hospital, COVID warriors through their own eyes

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Beirut (AFP)

In the harshly-lit corridors of a Beirut hospital, a team of nurses has been snapping pictures with their mobile phones of life behind the scenes of the battle against the coronavirus.

The images taken at the Hotel-Dieu de France Hospital and selected by AFP for a photo project offer a glimpse of their epic struggle against the pandemic.

Exhaustion, prayer, pride and a strong team spirit -- the photos chronicle the emotional roller coaster these nurses have been through in two months.

As they prepare to receive another accolade for their front line role with the May 12 marking of International Nurses Day, their smiles still show behind the masks and goggles.

But many of them have gone weeks without seeing their families and, while infections have remained relatively limited in Lebanon, they fear a second wave will flood their wards.

"People don't understand the difficulties we face here," said Sylvia Beudjekian, the head nurse in her unit at Hotel Dieu, one of the main hospitals in the Lebanese capital.

"Everybody's tired. We do much more than administer drugs to patients, we look after people who do not have their families by their side to battle sickness," she said.

Drinking coffee, playing guitar or celebrating Easter -- the pictures document some of the little down time they have enjoyed since COVID-19 grounded them at their workplace and permanently clad them in white and blue protective gear.

"We've laughed and we've cried and we've learnt a lot," Beudjekian said.

"We will continue to do everything we can to be there for everyone but people should be very careful and stay home."